The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is monitoring the senseless act of hate that took place in Pittsburgh on Saturday.  Our thoughts are with the affected families and the community.  We would also like to thank the law enforcement professionals whose intervention saved additional lives. 

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commissions (PHRC) most recently appointed Commissioner Adrian Shanker, of Allentown, who identifies as a Reconstructionist Jew, one of the two Jewish denominations that held services on Saturday at Tree of Life. He commented Monday morning:

“The tragic and heartbreaking attack on Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community is a somber reminder that more work is needed to eradicate hate in Pennsylvania. Anti-Semitism’s ugly visibility this weekend emboldens all of us to rise above it and say that Pennsylvania’s many, diverse communities are welcome to worship, or not, as one chooses. The freedom to practice one’s religion is an enshrined constitutional right that is not diminished by the terroristic act of an extremist. As we stand in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, we rise above hate and demand the eradication of anti-Semitism from our communities.”  

PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter has made himself and all PHRC’s resources available to assist with moving the Community and Commonwealth forward as we confront hate head on.  “We will continue to have the difficult conversations needed in order to avoid these horrific acts of terrorism,” he said.

Joel Bolstein who was recently named Chairman of the Commission by Governor Wolf, said:

“This attack is very personal to me.  I come from a long line of rabbis and my grandparents came to the US fleeing religious persecution.  Everyone at PHRC joins with our fellow Pennsylvanians in praying for the victims and their families.  When faced with a tragedy like this, it’s tempting to want to retreat and hide from the evil around us.  But we will not retreat.  PHRC will redouble its efforts to fight against hate, discrimination and intolerance.  That’s how we will honor the memory of the 11 men and women who were senselessly murdered in Pittsburgh solely because they were Jewish.  It’s up to each and every one of us to help make the world a better place.”