Dear NYLS Community,
Thanksgiving is a quintessential American holiday—a time to join together, reflect, and express gratitude for all that we have, big and small. As many of us join with family, friends, and neighbors over the next few days, we must remember those who will be missing from our tables because of an epidemic of hatred, anger, and political polarization most frighteningly manifested in ever increasing gun violence which itself has become quintessentially American.
This past weekend, the latest in a seemingly endless string of horrific incidents took place at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Five innocent people were killed, 25 were injured, and the families, friends, and communities to which they belonged were irrevocably broken. This was an act of extreme hatred, and took place on the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance—November 20—an annual day to remember transgender Americans who were killed in acts of violence. It also took place in the midst of very heated political debates nationally that are tied to a movement to strip rights from members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Adding to the Colorado shooting, three students were shot to death last week at the University of Virginia, and two armed men were arrested at Penn Station this weekend allegedly plotting to target a Jewish house of worship. Indeed, it is clear that previously safe streets and safe spaces are becoming increasingly hostile and threatening to too many people.
As we gather for Thanksgiving and other holidays this year, let’s remember the opportunities that exist, when breaking bread, for us to use our heads and our hearts to heal the divides that can foster hate and dissension, and lead to violence in our communities. As current and future members of a profession where we can make meaningful change, we are in a unique position to inspire others to find their voices and identify real and tangible ways to make their communities safer and stronger.
I am thankful for you, and look forward to continuing our work together to shape a better and safer future for every community. Please enjoy the holiday, and always take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Please reach out if you need anything.