After Pittsburgh

At first I thought: we need space to mourn. Eleven of our own have been shot. We need to cry together. Alone.

There are a few versions of where this story goes from here. There’s a version where we who have perhaps forgotten how close the Holocaust is. There’s a version where we turn inward, enlisting more guards and more guns and more rules and more fear and more gatekeeping and letting some Jews in while keeping others out. After all, our sacred space was ripped apart and our people’s place in the fabric of the U.S. is under attack.

And there is a version of the story where the rent in the fabric is covered by the bodies of those who stand with us. The Pittsburgh Muslim community who raised over $120,000, and counting, to support the families of the victims. The astonishing words of Marcus Cole about growing up black in Squirrel Hill in the 1960s. The sheer outrage and fundamental insistence on our humanity, pouring out around the U.S. and the world, that shows the humanity of others. The messages from my friends who know that I’m safe and still need me and my family to know that we are loved.

We are writing the story now. The narrative is and must be ours, and I say it is the story of living, together, with others, as the best revenge. We are honored and made sacred by the support of others. We are made more human with our support for them in turn. It is when we stand with others that we are all best seen.

In these times, solidarity and caretaking are radical acts. And even as I mourn, I have learned so very much from my allies who teach me what we as a people once knew and some of us have forgotten: how to live with fear, and also how to stand with care.

The Pittsburgh shooting is the story of a people hunted and persecuted in our holiest of moments, but it is also the story of a people supported. Of a community of allies coming together. Of being sheltered. Of care as a radical act. Of resistance. Of finding, in our collective fear and our unique traumas, a way to love one another.

This is our new reality. This is a wake-up call, but it is also a call to stand in support of others. Let us spread our shelter of peace as far and wide as we can. This is what it means to be human, and what it means to be sacred. And we, along with our allies, are both.