Approximately 500 residents of Mt. Lebanon — and other communities could have been represented as well — turned out late Sunday afternoon to send a clear message: There’s no home for hate here.
Speakers from the Christian, Judaic and Muslim communities reminded everyone that a welcoming community embraces people of all faiths and those who opt to not make religion part of their daily lives. A woman representing the Muslim community spoke passionately about being an immigrant from Syria and always finding this part of Pittsburgh welcoming and supportive. She asked everyone to make sure no one or nothing could change that for her or for any Muslim in the South Hills.
The outgoing council president spoke of recent acts at area schools that followed the presidential election and concerned many residents. Those acts ran in stark contrast to the message that all Mt. Lebanon schools deliver to their students: Respect for one and respect for all. Kelly Fraasch urged the attendees to not allow incidents — however isolated they might be — to change the inclusive nature of the schools.
Rep. Dan Miller, whose office organized the rally, encouraged everyone to politely but firmly take a stand when any word or action targets someone who is gay, disabled, an immigrant, or in any way considered different from the mainstream. He suggested that for every one act of hate, 10 positive voices are heard.
One of the highlights of the near one-hour rally came when people sang the Woody Guthrie song “This Land Is Your Land.” (I apologize for some of the herky-jerky movement during the video; there were people standing close to me and I was trying to neither block their view nor elbow them!)
All of us who celebrate and protect diversity in this community stand proudly with anyone who believes as we do: We are all part of one human race that makes our world better when we see differences as opportunities to learn about a culture or faith that is unfamiliar to us.
Indeed, #NoHomeForHate here.