Being my very first column for this newspaper, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dylan Skriloff and the Rockland County Times for allowing me to address issues of importance for the Town of Ramapo and all of Rockland.
Last week, on October 24, Americans were shaken to the core following the racist attack in Kentucky, which killed two innocent African Americans. Just three days later, on Saturday, October 27, a gunman opened fire and murdered 11 innocent Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. This shooting was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in United States history.
In the Town of Ramapo, I directed flags on all government buildings to be flown at half-staff in memory of the victims of the Synagogue attack in Pittsburgh and the attack in Kentucky.
This week, as I was heading to my polling location, I was thinking about what it means to be a leader in these times, where nationally, political rhetoric and divisiveness has reached a dangerous tone. Here in the Town of Ramapo, our elected leaders continue to celebrate our diversity, and we pledge to continue our efforts to bring unity to our diverse community.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, honored the victims with ‘Stronger Than Hate’ cleats. A GoFundMe campaign to repair the Synagogue raised over a million dollars. It was heartwarming to see our nation come together, with support pouring in for the victims and their families from all over the country.
I appeal to all of our current and newly elected officials at all levels of government, to appreciate our country’s diversity and to use their speaking engagements and posts on social media to encourage acceptance and respect for our differences. I hope that all New Yorkers will honor the victims, support the families affected, and join me in hoping that Americans from coast to coast come together to promote peace and stop the hate.