By Lauren E. Williams, Special to The AFRO
Immediately following the tragic massacre of Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced nearly $1 million in grants to help support security and preparedness for non-profit organizations and religious groups. Managed through D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), according to a city press release, the grants can be used to purchase physical security enhancements such as cameras, new doors, locks and gates.
The move has been lauded as a swift and decisive one by Bowser supporters, while some debate whether increased security will improve safety at all.
After last week’s hate-crime mass shooting at Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue, where 11 people were killed, two worshipers were injured and four officers were wounded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a grant to improve safety in religious institutions throughout the city. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
“On the heels of tragedy, we continue the work of building a more peaceful world – a world in which hatred and evil are erased and our country has common-sense gun control,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement sent to the AFRO. “ And as we continue this work, we remain focused on defending D.C. values and celebrating and uplifting our city’s unique and strong sense of inclusivity and diversity.”
Totaling $976,500, grants range between $30,000 and $150,000 and will be given out to nine District non-profits. These groups are: Adas Israel Congregation, Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC, Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital, North Campus, The National Presbyterian Church, The Georgetown Synagogue – Kesher Israel Congregation, Sixth & I Synagogue, New Bethel Baptist Church, Washington National Cathedral, and the Jewish Policy Center.
In addition to offering grants, HSEMA will also hold an event series aimed at helping nonprofits and religious institutions prepare for emergency situations.
In the same statement sent to the AFRO, HSEMA Director Dr. Christopher Rodriguez said, “Through workshops across the District, we will empower and educate nonprofits about the importance of conducting physical threat assessments, encouraging personal preparedness to their communities and developing robust applications to secure future funding.”