How do we respond to the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue?

News cycles and pundits are throwing information at us across the airwaves nonstop. It’s tempting to turn up the news stories or turn them off. Grieve privately or shut ourselves off completely. But what we need might be simpler than that.

Each other.

Showing up at a vigil this week isn’t partisan and it’s not a protest. It’s where we shoulder the lives lost and the pain of violence as a whole community instead of individually. People Coming together  when a tragedy strikes is a healing ritual that’s been passed down to us for generations. Because it does something. It connects us to each other.

Showing up at a vigil for the Tree of Life Synagogue, Kroger shooting victims makes love visible. It puts our bodies alongside  those who are feeling unsafe and those who are mourning. It lets us see each other, off line, up close in real time. As we see each other,  we find ourselves restored. Connection is chemistry.

When we show up and love anyways violence doesn’t have the last say over our country. Our communities are being rebuilt as we stand alongside each other with our children, our families and our neighbors. This is how we show our children the power of belonging to each other. Being surrounded by a community is electric, it doesn’t need an explanation.The community we build, will be there for them to lean on too. They are part of something bigger. When hate is loud, love is not silent.

We don’t need more tidbits or backstory in order to heal the violence that took lives in the prayer service, and Kroger store shooting. We need our communities to be rebuilt as the aftershocks of this violence is rippling through our lives like a tidal wave. Every vigil I’ve been to is healing. For me and and my children. The lighting of candles, songs sung and words of hope shepherd us back to our cars, and our regular lives with hope in our hearts and resilience in our hands.

When we drag the violence out into the open and mourn it together. Something in us is remade.


It’s the chemistry of connection.

This is how we unmake violence. We show up.


Diana Oestreich