On behalf of Higher Achievement, especially our Higher Achievement Pittsburgh family, I am writing to condemn hate. The shootings at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and at Kroger grocery in Louisville last week took innocent lives and we mourn with their families, and hold them in the light. This hate-motivated violence also extended to attempted violence with pipe-bombs mailed to leaders of our country and media, including CNN – the home of one of our new board members, CNN news anchor Jim Sciutto. Jim was live on air last week during the first CNN pipe bomb delivery, and he kept reporting from the sidewalk after his building was evacuated. In the face of this violence and hate, Higher Achievement stands up firmly against it.
In these tragic times, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated. But, we need to resist that urge. We must take action and show love. I am not talking about a fluffy, Pollyanna-ish love, but instead a muscular kind of love. This is the kind of muscular love that Pittsburgh native, Fred Rogers, encouraged us to exhibit and seek. The Tree of Life tragedy hit literally in Mr. Rogers neighborhood, where I lived in graduate school. While it is important to encourage children to “look for the helpers” in scary times, as Mr. Rogers did, it is also important for adults to BE the helpers. To be helpers, we first need to take care of ourselves. Once we are ready to help, we have so many choices: we can be mentors like hundreds of our volunteers across our cities, we can listen closely to people different than ourselves and share our stories with empathy, and we can vote.
Please stand with Higher Achievement and stand against hate. Be a helper.
Lynsey Wood Jeffries
CEO, Higher Achievement