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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The residue of the mass shooting at Squirrel Hill’s Tree of Life Synagogue, has left a mark far and wide.
Students and the University of Pittsburgh, along with faculty, joined together Monday for what they call “Pitt Together: Stronger than Hate.”
Organized by a coalition of student groups and faculty, the Stronger Than Hate Movement took form.
Days earlier on campus, the school passed out t-shirts that say “Pitt: Stronger Than Hate.” Many of the students in attendance at the rally wore the shirts.
“We really wanted to bring the community together because that’s who Pittsburgh is – community, people who stand with each other,” said Pitt student Sam Smallwood.
From song to an array of speakers, students listened intently on how and why healing is so important.
“There are those show say we should be still, not speak out, it’s not the time, be silent… but this is not the time to be silent,” said the university’s Roland Linden.
“What happened has happened and we can’t change it. But we have to be proactive and prevent this from ever happening again. Let’s show the world that the University of Pittsburgh is strong,” said Elizabeth Rangel, a Pitt student.
“Your generation has been the generation that has seen massacre, after massacre, after massacre, and say it has to end. There are solutions to the problems and we are going to work together to fix them,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
The turnout for the rally was impressive indeed. At the height of the ceremony, there were some 3,000 people filling campus. But it wasn’t just the messages shared, it was also about the charge moving forward.
“I have never seen so many people in my life. I used to go to school in New York City, and this is incredible how many people came together for this,” said Isabelle Descutner, a student.
“I think today had an element of a pivot to it. We’re still in grief, this is still a city in mourning, but there’s a search now for what to do with that pain,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.