Dear Cougar Community:

Please join me in expressing heartfelt condolences and unshakable support for our Jewish brothers and sisters—across the nation and in our local communities—in the wake of the horrific shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The violent hate that has torn apart the lives of countless Americans from Pennsylvania to California in recent years is a tragic aberration. It is not who we are in this country. For nearly 250 years, the United States has stood for tolerance, freedom, and compassion.

Terrorists can shatter our lives, but they cannot touch our core beliefs. Despite our imperfections, we are a people of humanity and goodness. The forces that attempt to split us apart are no match for those that unite us. We can and must stand in solidarity against hate.

Songwriter Paul Stanley, best known as a singer for the band Kiss, shared a powerful message on Twitter earlier today. Stanley, whose mother’s parents fled Europe to escape the Holocaust, wrote, in part:

“Say what you will, but now is a time for us all to put aside divisive, hate-filled rhetoric on all sides and realize that we will all reap what we sow. My heart goes out to all the innocent victims of not only this slaughter in Pittsburgh but of all hate-filled crimes against the innocent everywhere.

We are now in a frightening and dangerous time for society. But there is always hope in realization. We all have power. We created this. We must end it. All of us.”

Kirk Schulz