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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Reflects on Tree of Life Shooting Anniversary

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In a significant statement issued on the fifth anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas delivered a powerful message about the enduring impact of hate-driven violence.

Secretary Mayorkas solemnly stated, “The impact of an act of hate is never momentary. Whether it is a terrorist attack, like the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue that killed eleven people and wounded six others five years ago today, or something as anonymous as a swastika graffitied on a dorm room door, the hurt and fear such an act engenders always reverberates beyond the physical victims themselves and endures long after the headlines have moved on.”

Secretary Mayorkas went on to commend the remarkable resilience of the Tree of Life community, emphasizing their unwavering spirit and determination to combat targeted violence and eliminate hate. He shared his personal experience of meeting with survivors of the attack, stating, “I felt this first-hand when I had the honor of meeting with survivors of the attack last month, and I have been inspired every day since by their stories, by the tightknit interfaith community that supported them, and by their faith – in each other, in God, and in their fellow Americans.”

The Department of Homeland Security stands shoulder to shoulder with the Tree of Life community in their mission to create a nation free from anti-Semitic and hate-fueled violence. As anti-Semitic hate crimes continue to rise year after year in the United States, Secretary Mayorkas emphasized the department’s unwavering commitment to working closely with community leaders and local law enforcement agencies to prevent all forms of hate-fueled violence. He also highlighted their implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s pioneering Strategy to Combat Anti-Semitism.

In addition, the Department is actively disseminating valuable resources to combat hate, including hundreds of millions of dollars in security grant funding and the indispensable Protecting Places of Worship guide.

Secretary Mayorkas concluded his statement with heartfelt words, saying, “My heart is with those members of the Tree of Life community, the Pittsburgh community, and the Jewish community who are grieving today. The resolve of our Department is with all those who are committed to honoring the victims of hate, defeating the forces of fear, and building a more tolerant, secure future for all.”

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