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Rochester faith leaders organize public Shiva sit-in for victims of gun violence

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Buffalo residents say they want more than short-term attention after the violence on Saturday, and call for ongoing investments to fix systemic racism and address white supremacy. The Tops Market shooting is the latest mass killing or attempted killing by a person espousing white supremacist views.

Members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester and other faith organizations are hosting a demonstration this weekend to support victims of gun violence in Rochester and across the country.

They're inviting people to participate in a mass Shiva sit in. Shiva is a Jewish custom to mourn the loss of a loved one.

“Sitting Shiva means to sit in chairs for seven days. But for this event, we're going to be sitting in hard chairs together with our community,” said Monica Gebell community relations director at the Jewish Federation.

She says the event is also an effort to bring people together after a streak of mass shootings in recent weeks.

“We're sitting silently for one hour together. And just being able to honor gun violence victims together, I think, is a powerful statement, “Gebell said.

The more than 200 chairs that will be provided are meant to correspond with the number of mass shootings that have occurred across this country this year.

Participants are encouraged to come and sit with a sign bearing the name of a loved one who has died from gun violence.

The Shiva-Sit in will take place Sunday June 12, at 12 p.m. at Washington Square Park, 10 St Mary's Pl, Rochester, NY 14607

To sign up as a volunteer to sit, visit


April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.