Rep. Richmond Responds to Kroger Grocery Store and Tree of Life Synagogue Mass Shootings

October 28, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. In response to the murders of two African Americans in a Kentucky Kroger grocery store and the 11 Jews slain yesterday at a Pittsburgh, PA synagogue, Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02) released the following statement:

“It brings me great sorrow to wake up yet another day having to address the public and console our loved ones due to acts of grotesque, racially charged hate and pure evil,” said Rep. Richmond. “Just days ago, a white supremacist set out to murder any and all African Americans he could find. After an unsuccessful attempt at trying to enter a predominately African American Baptist church, Gregory A. Bush made his way to a nearby Kroger in Louisville, Kentucky killing two African Americans in and around the grocery store. This is not the United States of America that we should know, love, or grow accustomed to.”

“What happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania yesterday was beyond horrific. An anti-Semite came into a sacred place of worship and took the lives of 11 innocent worshipers. This is one of the deadliest attacks on the Jewish community in United States history, and thoughts and prayers from lawmakers are not enough to prevent these events from happening again. We cannot sit back and watch as bigots and racists take the lives of innocent Americans, and we must not stay silent while white nationalists continue to feel emboldened and empowered by the tacit approval of our highest form of leadership. At a time like this, it is clear that we must perform an audit of our core values, evaluate what we really stand for, and then take the necessary corrective steps to ending anti-Semitic and other racially charged acts of violence from becoming a common occurrence.”

“African Americans know well the deeply rooted pain also experienced by those in the Jewish community on the account of the flagrant racists and bigots that poison our country. Events ranging from the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama to the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, to the Freedom Summer murders in Mississippi, both African Americans and the Jewish community know what it is like to be targeted and routinely persecuted all in the name of fear and hate. We also know well the sacred fellowship shared between our communities. The Jewish community in America has long supported African Americans, most notably with their contributions during the Civil Rights Movement, including funding the NAACP and several historically black colleges and universities.”

“It is inconceivable to think that in only the past few years that we have endured and witnessed an unprecedented spike in hate crimes. The Anti-Defamation League has reported a 57% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, as well a sharp increase in anti-Semitic online harassment. Everyone deserves to feel peaceful and safe in their respective places of worship. One of our Founding Fathers, President George Washington said it best, ‘May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.’”

“In the wake of our current age of hate, vitriol, and racially motivated violence, I am reminded of the enlightening words by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that’. Through light, love, and the spirit of perseverance, not only will we conquer and overcome the hate that plagues our nation, we will not falter nor become divided. United we shall continue to stand.”