On Saturday, October 27, 2018, a horrible act of violence occurred in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. The city and our country continues to process these acts and grieve for our brothers and sisters who have been directly impacted by these horrendous acts.

Through the darkness, there has been some brightness; one of those rays being that all 11 people who were killed, have their funeral costs covered by over $200K raised by the local Islamic community.  

As the city continues grieve, our City Impact Manager Stephanie Grimes is working with the local service platoons and partners to see where our efforts can best support the needs and desires of the Jewish community, residents of Squirrel Hill, and all others affected by this act of hatred.

For Pittsburgh locals, here’s what you can do this weekend

Join The Mission Continues 3rd Platoon as it stands with the Jewish Community. The Jewish community in Pittsburgh is calling for unity, and opening their doors to the entire community this Saturday for Shabbat services. There are services at 9:30 am at Beth Shalom, and 10:30 at Rodef Shalom. Volunteers with The Mission Continues will support both.

On November 3, 8:30 am-12:00 pm we will meet to organize at the Smallman Street Deli, discuss our mission, and form a plan for how best to support the community at each site. We have been asked to be on call to help with presence, but all that wish to attend the services are encouraged to do so. Those who do not will remain outside to increase the presence of allies and to demonstrate the strength of the bonds between the veteran and Jewish community.

Signs of support and love are encouraged, but must be free of any political messaging, and in good taste. Our power is our unity, and our mission is to heal and protect. Please tailor all messages to this goal.

If you’re not in Pittsburgh, here’s how you can help

Our Service Leadership Corps Advisor Souroth Chatterji, spent the last 7 years before coming to The Mission Continues with the City of Pittsburgh Police Department. One of his fellow officers, Tim Matson, was shot 8 times as a first responder, and is going to need a lot of help moving forward.

There are many Gofundme accounts that have popped up after these events, however, if you are interested in supporting Officer Matson’s recovery, here is the legitimate page set up by his brother and authenticated by Souroth.

If you are looking for a way to contribute more broadly, check out the giving campaign being run by The Pittsburgh Foundation, matching up to $150K in donations through this Saturday, to 8 of the organizations most affected by the shootings.

A message from our very own Souroth Chatterji, a former Squirrel Hill resident and a former member of the Pittsburgh Police

Pittsburgh, the proud home of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, takes seriously the responsibility to welcome and show love to newcomers. This inclusive city took my family in with open arms when we arrived there from India, poor, desperate, and in hope of a better life.

On the morning of October 27th, a gunman fueled by hate and bigotry attacked members of the Pittsburgh community because of their commitment to helping refugees. However, the gunman proved no match for the city. It is protected by the strength of its citizens—and by the brave men and women of the Pittsburgh Police.

Hate cannot overcome our city, not when there are people like Officer Tim Matson to protect it. I remember in my early days as a police officer looking up to Tim—he was larger than life, looking out for his fellow officers and, if trouble came, he was the first to meet it. So it is no surprise to me that on the morning of the gunman’s attack on Tree of Life Synagogue, he was the first person to go into the synagogue, the first to evacuate the wounded, and the first to risk his life to take down the terrorist.

Tim Matson was shot 8 times with a high-powered automatic rifle that day and is gravely injured. He is a strong person and will survive his injuries, but the road ahead is long, and he will need our help to fully recover. During this time, he will need financial support. Please consider donating to Officer Tim Matson’s Go Fund Me page.