An Open Letter Robert Bowers:
As a child, I did not make a choice to be Jewish, I was a mere product of my family. Today however, as I do every day, I make the decision, committing myself to my religion and my beliefs in spite of my persecutors. When tragedy strikes and threatens the existence of my community, it becomes that much more important to stand up and proudly announce my convictions.
To the Anti Smites, your beliefs are no more valid than that of fearful children preemptively defending themselves. But we never had any intention of hurting you, more importantly, we still don’t. Your destructive views of us only reflect your own shortcomings and put forth cynicism into the population. We will not allow this to change us, to make us hateful. Despite the dangers you create, we do not wish you harm as it is not who we are. We are not scared; as a community we only grow stronger with each injustice against us.
Despite our constant prosecution, I have never been more proud to be a Jew in my community. I am beyond grateful to the Jewish leaders in Guelph who understood it as a duty to come together in the face of hatred. Tuesdays candlelight vigil was one beautiful consequence of the devastation that occurred.
Robert Bower, you snuffed the light of 11 innocent individuals and there is nothing we can do to bring them back. We can however remember them, honor them, and allow their memory to reignite our own beliefs. It is our duty, now more than ever to stand strong in our faith and not allow hatred to win.
To our dismay and disgust, you were successful in the murdering of 11. You will not be successful in the murder of a religion. Adversity will only make us stronger, we are here, we are proud, and we are not going anywhere.