PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — How do you express kindness, comfort and love?

Friday morning, dozens of people shared their thoughts on banners at the Jewish Community Centers in Squirrel Hill and the South Hills.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“Our humanity is a shared humanity, and violence against one person is violence on any person,” said Melissa Hiller, the assistant director of the Center for Loving Kindness at the JCC.

The event wasn’t just for member of the Jewish community, but for anyone. The banners will be sent to three communities that recently experienced violence: Monsey, New York; White Settlement, Texas; and Wilkinsburg, where Romir Talley, a young African-American man was recently shot by police.

“If we, in some small way, can strengthen the spiritual and moral leaders of Wilkinsburg so that they can be strong for their community, that’s what we can do,” said Hiller.

The project was organized by the JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness, whose work is to transform people from being bystanders to upstanders.

“I want people to know in places that’s been harmed, that other people care about them, they may not know that we’re standing up for them,” said Ellen Hughes, of Edgewood.

Some of those who signed said it’s important that communities that have experienced violence know that others care for them, and support them.

“It’s something that is unfortunately becoming prominent thing in our world and just need to know that we can do all this with each other’s support and each other’s love,” added Alena Esposito.

Helen Blier told KDKA, “I’m a member of the Pittsburgh Theological Center staff and we stand in solidarity with those who are victims of violence, particularly those who are experiencing victims in faith-based context.”

The hope is that this gesture will build bridges across diverse communities.

Lisa Washington