Legislator, staff issue open letter to community in wake of Pittsburgh attack

Assaults must be examined, understood through context of history

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – As protests and cries of condemnation continue on the heels of a shocking assaults of two women outside a Pittsburgh-area gas station, state Rep. Summer Lee and her staff wrote an open letter to the community, imploring that readers examine the historical context and underlying issues of the assault.

In the letter, Lee, D-Allegheny, writes about hypocrisy with respect to the response to the attacks and urges the community to use this moment to re-examine society’s prejudices, stereotypes and biases regarding women of color. The letter goes on to ask that citizens help Lee, her staff and other community leaders advance the civil rights conversation to build a more just and compassionate society.

“The frequency and blatant disregard with which these assailants batter black women reveals a deeper truth about our society and the way we think about black women – the nature of which we would encourage readers to ponder and extrapolate upon for themselves,” the letter reads. “In reflecting upon this instance and the recent assault of a woman of color in a Milano’s pizzeria in uptown, we implore anyone who might be concerned with the social progress of humanity to simply listen, take heed, and acknowledge.

“Our hearts go out to Jamila and Ashia Regan, our hearts go out to their families, our hearts go out to the community, and our hearts go out to all of those who feel the pain of disenfranchisement,” they concluded.

The full letter can be read here.