AAP President Kyle E. Yasuda, MD, FAAP, issued the following statement in response to the terrorist attack that took place at a synagogue in Poway, California, on April 27:
“On behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I condemn the terrorist attack that took place over the weekend, on the last day of Passover, at a synagogue in Poway, California. Pediatricians offer our deepest condolences to the children and families impacted. One woman was left dead and three were injured, including a child, in an act of hate-filled gun violence that follows the horrific attack six months ago at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, last month’s deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand and this month’s church attacks on Easter in Sri Lanka. I mourn the families and communities impacted by these acts of hate taking place in houses of worship, which should be sacred places for communities to come together and have instead become sites of violent extremism.
“At the American Academy of Pediatrics, we often say that advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint; it can sometimes take decades or more to see meaningful change. Yet, we persist in speaking up for children’s health and safety with the understanding that every time we raise our voices, we enlighten those in positions of power, we lift up those who cannot speak for themselves, and we inch closer to the change we seek, even if we have miles to go before we achieve it.
“The Poway shooting is a stark reminder that our collective work to counter religious and racial discrimination will be a long-term pursuit. We must stand together and speak out not just when anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim or racist acts lead to deadly violence, but also when they manifest subtly in our day-to-day lives. We must be just as intolerant of hate when it impacts another group as we do when it impacts us.
“Speaking out is not enough; we must also act. There are common-sense gun safety policies that can help make communities safer from gun violence—we must support and urge Congress to pass such policies. Gun violence prevention has been a longstanding priority at the highest levels of the Academy. We will keep urging action from our elected leaders until we see real progress.”