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Nov. 6, 2018

Margaret Crocco: Standing together in solidarity

Margaret Crocco is a professor and chairperson in the Department of Teacher Education. The following Faculty Voice is repurposed from a letter Crocco wrote in response to the anti-Semitic attacks at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

In these troubled times, many of us are feeling unmoored by the acts of hatred and violence that seem to be proliferating across this country — in our schools, places of worship and commerce, and a host of other settings. The attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh is the most horrific episode of anti-Semitism ever in this country.

Unfortunately, it is also part of a long tradition of anti-Semitism going back centuries, both here in the United States and elsewhere. And in its vile and cowardly taking of human life, this tragedy can only remind us of other events of this sort — the church in South Carolina where nine African American people were killed in 2015, the 2016 attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando where 49 people were killed, the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead, or the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff died.

First and foremost, let us stand together in sympathy and solidarity for all those affected— either directly or indirectly — by the murders in Pittsburgh and all victims of these all-too-frequent tragedies of hatred and gun violence in this country. At the same time, our efforts should not end with sympathy and prayers for the deceased and their families.

As educators, we must renounce hatred and prejudice in all its forms and rededicate ourselves to using our skills and knowledge to make our schools and communities better places — ones committed to advancing greater respect, equity and inclusion for all members of our wonderfully diverse human community.

When Spartans say, “Go Green, Go White,” we are communicating so much more than simply a desire for an athletic victory or a token of group solidarity. We also signal through these words that we represent a certain professional standard — one dedicated to repairing a fractured world by living and working in ways that can serve as a model for others at  a time when we have so few positive examples of this sort of leadership at the national level.