New York, NY, July 5, 2022 – Yesterday, during a celebration of our nation’s independence – our country was again shaken to its core. In a string of mass violence and loss of life, the American Jewish Congress is outraged and condemns the violent attacks in Highland Park, Illinois, resulting in the loss of six lives and leaving countless individuals wounded. Furthermore, we are grateful to the brave law enforcement officers who apprehended the suspect, and our prayers are with all those affected by this unforgivable tragedy. 

The joys of being surrounded by friends, family, and those we hold dear make the Fourth unlike any other. However, this year was defined by something much worse for the residents of Highland Park, those who hold those citizens close, and the innocent who partook in a day of celebration. This outpour of mass violence and extremist acts that have plagued our nation in recent months is nothing shy of vicious. From Buffalo to Tusla, from Uvalde to Highland Park, and anywhere in between, this loss of life must not only be condemned, but we must act to ensure that those responsible for taking these lives, for causing the hysteria and pain that follow, are held accountable at the highest levels. 

While yesterday’s shooting leaves a void in our country that has become far too familiar, regrettably, this is not the only time Highland Park has been met with extremism in recent months. In April, a large-scale antisemitic campaign spread flyers throughout Highland Park on Yom HaShoah, the Day of Holocaust Remembrance. Moreover, Highland Park houses a significant Jewish population, with estimates putting the area’s Jewish population at about a third of its total gauged population of 30,100. With that said, we look forward to a full investigation into the motives that may have motivated the Highland Park shooter to carry out his attack, including possible antisemitism.

The American Jewish Congress urges the brave men and women of law enforcement who will uncover the truths of this horrible tragedy – coupled with the judicial officers that will prosecute this horrific crime – to afford the necessary attention and care that the Jewish community deserves. This event is nothing short of yet another display of domestic terror – and it must be treated as such in the court of law.

In no mistakable terms, let it be known from sea to shining sea – this grotesque pattern of violent extremism must be stopped. Our hearts and prayers are with those affected by yesterday’s deplorable events. May those who mourn find the will they require to carry on, may those who are injured be afforded the strength to recover speedily and without complication, and may those who are responsible for this brutal injustice face the full extent of the law.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.