We are a team of six undergraduate students at the University of Pittsburgh who have worked to create an exhibit space that highlights student responses to the October 27th, 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash, and New Light Congregations in Squirrel Hill. Working through our university’s Office of Undergraduate Research, we have received extensive consultation from the Heinz History Center’s Rauh Jewish Archive, Pitt’s School of Social Work, and the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. This initiative was generously funded by the Gilboa fund.
We joined this project for many different reasons. Some had personal connections to the Jewish community, others had experienced mass violence before. Wrestling with the whys and hows of antisemitic violence was a reason for us too.
We present to you, the student community of Pittsburgh, the ideas behind why the attack happened in the first place – the hatred, white supremacy, and antisemitism in our society today. We also present to you a topic in which we are all well versed – student responses to October 27th. We know how our friends responded, how our schools responded, how we responded.
We were all on campuses in the weeks and months following the shooting. We heard the conversations, took the classes, and went to the events. But, the six of us weren’t able to attend every event, read every statement, or hear every speech. That’s why we want you, the student community of Pittsburgh, to help us complete the history.