On Tuesday evening Oct. 30, sixty people gathered in Watertown Square to remember the victims of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, and to reaffirm the importance of denouncing violence against all victims of religious, political, racial and gender intolerance. Candlelight streamed down Main St. during the vigil organized by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice & the Environment.
Mourners later gathered in a large circle around the delta as First Parish Unitarian minister Mark Harris spoke to the crowd about the increasing hatred spewing across the country, and the urgency with which citizens must speak up and speak out against the acts of violence that surround us. Watertown Citizens President Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin then honored the many wounded first-responders and officers, followed by a reading of the names and ages of each of the eleven victims killed in the attack.
After a moment of silence, Sue-Ellen read excerpts from the response to the shootings by the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, emphasizing the need for more than just words or condemnation to combat the pervasive aggression and hatred.
The vigil ended with a reminder to elect leaders in our schools, our town, our state and our country who value civility and the values poignantly described by Anne Frank at age 14 before she died at the hands of the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.