Samantha Kamen: October 30 at 1:58 AM

Tonight, I lost it. 

Tears rolling down my face, snotty tissues and all, I sat in bed and uncontrollably mourned for the events of this past weekend. 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try to compartmentalize at first. I cleaned my room. Had dinner with friends. Went to see a movie. On the surface, I appeared fine. Holding it together. 

Tonight, I let go. 

For all the times I stayed silent and wished I would I’ve been brave enough to speak. For the 11 souls who mercilessly lost their lives. For the 6 injured who are currently fighting an unknowable battle. For the families who are suffering unbearable grief and pain. For the children yearning to understand. For all those who persevere in the face of unspeakable tragedy. For myself, for not appreciating the privilege I’ve experienced and the importance of my faith and heritage enough.  

In 6th grade, we studied the Holocaust in Hebrew School. I had nightmares for months, always soothed by mother softly repeating “Never Again.” 

In 8th grade, I visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C. on a class field trip. I saw my last name listed on the wall. I fell apart. 

Yesterday, I belted out “When you Believe” from the Prince of Egypt (one of my favorite movies and also the song I sang at my confirmation) over and over again in the shower, for lack of knowing what else to do for comfort.  

Tonight, I’m renewed. While there is still fear, there is a burgeoning undercurrent of strength. Of unity. Of pride. To quote the song, "We were moving mountains long before we knew we could."

To my Jewish community in Pittsburgh, Louisville, and afar, I love you. I miss you. I appreciate you. I'm in awe of you. 

To each individual who has shared their heart in response to not only Saturday’s events, but to so many others that have rocked our society to the core and reminded us of the necessity for humanity - It is because of your bravery, eloquence, and passion that I am inspired to join the conversation tonight. I thank you. I bless you. I wish I would’ve joined you long ago.

To those who are reading this, I thank you for taking the time. Though the mountains may keep coming, I will never stop believing in the power for them to move. Together, we will. Sending love and light to all. ❤️

Never again.