Over 100 people gathered under the Cable Street mural for a vigil for Pittsburgh on Sunday 28 October. Contributions from Colin Wilson and Taisie Tsikas.
Last night, over 100 people gathered under the Cable Street mural in the East End for a vigil for the lives lost in Pittsburgh to antisemitic, white supremacist violence. Under the iconic mural that reminds us of the history of struggle against fascism, we held candles, heard addresses and poems, and sang together.
Speakers included people from Jewish Socialists’ Group, Jewdas and Unmesh Desai, a local member of the London Assembly. A rabbi from Brent spoke about the interfaith work he’s involved in and about tackling hate crime, and a second rabbi spoke about the need for solidarity with refugees and led people in saying kaddish, the prayer for the dead. Many speakers stressed the importance of unity against the far right and drew lessons from the Battle of Cable Street in 1936. David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists’ Group drew attention to the coming together of the Irish dock workers with the local Jewish community, and the unity demonstrated between trade unions, and between the Communist Party and the Independent Labour Party.
The Pittsburgh synagogue was attacked partly due to its support for migrants via its association with HIAS, a global non-profit that assists refugees. As Jewish Socialists’ Group have put it in their statement on the shooting, “He targeted these people simply because they are Jews; and he chose these particular Jews because the Tree of Life congregation are local partners of HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which works to resettle refugees.”
In recognition of this, the organisers of the vigil organised a collection for North East London Migrant Action (NELMA), who provide support for migrant families with ‘no recourse to public funds’ through activism, advocacy, solidarity and mutual support. The people congregated donated almost £500. The organisers of the event wrote:
“We will always and forever stand strong and fight together for a better, more peaceful world. Antisemitism and anti-blackness cannot be defeated alone, nor can any hateful manifestation of white supremacy. Understanding this, we are committed to unity and solidarity with all oppressed people.”
Apart from the political importance of such events, they also have a personal impact. It’s crucial to come together with others and take action to avoid becoming demoralised and to build the connections we so desperately need.
These are the names of those killed in Pittsburgh:
Joyce Feinberg, 75
Richard Gotfried, 65
Rose Malinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Cesil Rosenthal, 59
David Rosenthal, 54
Bernice Simon, 84
Sylvan Simon, 86
Daniel Stein, 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69