URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — People of all ages and backgrounds came together Sunday in support of the Jewish community.
“We are so touched and so blown away by the many messages, calls, emails and texts from people of all faith communities here.”
It’s after 11 people were killed and 6 others were hurt in a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting Saturday morning.
Saturday — the U of I Jewish community held a moment of prayer on the quad. Several student and university leaders spoke, saying it’s time for people to stand up against hatred.
They say they want to send a strong message that it’s a time where people need to come together.
“The greatest response to hate, the greatest response to negativity, the greatest response to darkness is light.”
Hundreds of people in the Champaign-Urbana community braved the chilly evening to drown out some of the hate.
“If you take a little candle and lit it in a room as big as the state farm center it’s going to light up.”
Although the wind snuffed out many of their candles, the goal of the gathering was much bigger.
“It’s about unity, what can we do as a community. I think the biggest thing people get out of tonight is that they’re not alone, we’re a community, a strong community united, both within the Jewish community and the larger community.”
It’s the large, diverse background of the community that gives people like U of I Chancellor Robert Jones hope.
“It gives me enormous hope, but I’m not surprised, this is what we do at Illinois, when tragic things happen to any member of our community, people show up in solidarity.”
And they both say the goal is to make sure everyone is supported.
“We want to send a very strong message of support and respect and mourning for all of those that lost their lives in this senseless act of hatred and anti-Semitism.”
“We all care, we’re all in it together, we’re all united for a brighter and stronger future.”
The U of I police chief says they care deeply about each and every student on campus, and they’re staying vigilant to make sure that everyone stays safe.
The victims in the shooting were recognized by the White House. President Trump ordered flags at federal buildings to be flown at half staff until Wednesday in “solemn respect” for the victims. He says the “hearts of all Americans are filled with grief, following the monstrous killing.”