Families and survivors of the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue attack joined the Northgate community on Jan. 15 for a special event organized by students involved in the district’s No Place for Hate program in coordination with LIGHT Education Initiative.
Those in attendance viewed the documentary “Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life” before participating in a panel discussion featuring our student leaders, guests that included Amy Mallinger, Audrey Glickman, Carol Black and Andrea Wedner, as well as Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, chief physician executive at Allegheny Health Network.
Our students in No Place for Hate first viewed the film in September during the Eradicate Hate Summit in Pittsburgh. Junior Tatiana Cernansky said she and her peers wanted to share the message with the entire school community.
“We wanted to hold this to bring together our community so that we can all start working together to really eradicate hate,” Tatiana said. “When we originally went to the Eradicate Hate Summit and first watched the film, our first idea was to immediately show it to everyone in our school.”
The film documents Pittsburgh's powerful community response to hate in the aftermath of the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history.
A schoolwide assembly in the middle/high school was organized in November for all students to watch the documentary, and the family of Rose Mallinger, one of the 11 victims killed in the attack, attended to speak with the students.
The next step was to host a viewing of the film for the entire community, and Northgate was once again joined by survivors of the attack and their families for a panel discussion.
Glickman said events like this help build connections in the community, which ultimately leads to more acceptance and understanding.
“Every connection that you make is important,” she said. “Just keep making connections. We’ve managed to make connections all over the world by doing what we’re doing.”
Freshman Sophia Lardo said the guest panelists’ commitment to spreading a message of peace was inspiring.
“The fact that people have gone through so much are still speaking of it. They’re sharing their experiences to try to change people because they want to make a difference. Seeing their experiences, it makes me want to change,” Sophia said.
Other students leading the efforts Max Wivell, Jaia Harrison, Majuma Abdalla and Destiny Butler.