A note of solidarity

Dear Friends, Members, Colleagues & CPA community,

When I was growing up, acts of mass violence and hate felt far away and infrequent. This week's violence, with the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, hits closer to home.

It feels even more painful on the heels of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, the Kroger shooter who almost entered First Baptist Church outside Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday, the shooting at Mother Emmanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina... and the list goes on.

As a cooperative founded and led by a group of church, synagogue, and school leaders, this pattern of targeted, hate-motivated shootings has me feeling heavy with grief at the weight of the loss.  

At this morning's CPA staff meeting, a colleague shared how his partner was leading services at a synagogue in Pennsylvania on Saturday, when he heard the news and feared for the life of a loved one.

At CPA, we have 12 synagogues and Jewish community institutions in DC, Baltimore, and Virginia that make up an integral part of our community. We also have more than 30 charter schools and 30 churches including many that are comprised predominantly by people of color.

It's times like this when our relationships across lines that normally separate us are more important.

I believe it's important to come together in moments like this to affirm what we are about and affirm that our actions matter, especially when we are acting together as a community.

The purpose of our co-op is fundamentally about relationship. Relationship with each other and the belief that there is strength in numbers and power in community. The more we are able to be fully human with each other in times of grief like this, I believe the solidarity and empathy we are able to express grows our capacity to act in more courageous and hopeful ways -- ways that build the kind of community we hope our children can be a part of.

On a practical level, we’ll be scheduling a time to talk about safety and security needs in the coming week. We’ll also be asking for your input so we can help meet new needs that some of you have begun sharing with us.

At this time, and at any time, if you have ideas on ways we can help make our co-op -- your co-op -- more supportive and useful to you in your work at our houses of worship and schools, don’t hesitate to reach out to me (felipe@cpa.coop; cell 402-708-3208).



Felipe Witchger