This Can't Keep Happening

This can’t keep happening. I find myself uttering this phrase far too frequently. Last week, explosive packages were sent to dozens of people around the country, and a man with apparent intentions to target a Black church in Kentucky killed two people at a nearby grocery store. Then this past Saturday, we saw the tragic antisemitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 11 people dead.

As I attended my own church yesterday for my weekly dose of refuge and comfort, I was overcome with emotion multiple times when I thought about how the day prior, our Jewish siblings had entered the Tree of Life Synagogue hoping for the same experience. My heart goes out so profoundly to everyone who was affected by such deplorable acts of hatred—to anyone who now feels added trauma, fear, or isolation as “others.” I am so sorry. This can’t keep happening.

Conversations over the weekend seemed to land on varying ends of the spectrum. To some, this felt like a fresh wound on top of multiple scars. Others articulated a sense of numbness, desensitized by the apparent normalcy of such senseless acts of violence. I have told myself that I must feel each incident; to never reach a point of desensitization. I worry that as soon as I desensitize, then I may become complacent—and complacency is never an option when it is at the expense of someone else’s life and right to hold safe space. This past weekend reminds me of my own Allyship responsibilities to ensure everyone’s rights to practice their faiths freely. This can’t keep happening.

When speaking to my parents, my most trusted advisors, about what to say, they noted that it would be very difficult to draw inspiration from this situation. I agree, and feel that trying to do so would dishonor those who have been so profoundly affected and hurt.

But we can draw motivation. We can be motivated to work tirelessly towards a socially just world, where we are all embraced for who we are and able to thrive to reach out highest potential.  We are strong believers in the “both/and” during times like these: We can hold pain and rage in our hearts as we feel empathy and compassion for everyone affected, and we can also feel urgency and commitment to the critical work ahead of love-in-action.  We can be gentle with ourselves as we heal from the wounds of experiencing the pains of this world, and we can take action to ensure that this harm stops.

SNS will always stand boldly and loudly against any form of hatred, and in unwavering Allyship and solidarity with our marginalized siblings who experience its harmful effects. Such loss and trauma should never have happened, and it makes us even more committed to the work ahead. During times like these, it is easy to lose hope amidst the rampant acts of hatred and harm. Then I think about how our work exposes us to thousands of people who want to be allies and work tirelessly toward social justice with us. It reminds me that love will always show up 1000 times stronger than hatred, and that love WILL win.

In Solidarity,

Whitney Parnell

CEO/Founder