Congresswoman Summer Lee Attends Tree of Life Groundbreaking Ceremony After Playing Pivotal Role in Securing Significant Federal Funding for the New Campus

Jun 23, 2024
In the News
Press

**For Immediate Release**

Congresswoman Summer Lee Attends Tree of Life Groundbreaking Ceremony After Playing Pivotal Role in Securing Significant Federal Funding for the New Campus

PITTSBURGH, PA — Today, on a solemn yet hopeful Sunday morning, Congresswoman Summer Lee joined dignitaries including the Second Gentleman of the United States, Doug Emhoff, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Tree of Life campus at 5898 Wilkins Avenue, Pittsburgh. The event marked a significant step in transforming the site of the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history into a place of remembrance, community, education, and bridge building. 

Congresswoman Lee said, “Today, as we break ground at the site of profound tragedy, we also lay the foundation for a future of resilience and understanding. The Tree of Life campus will stand as a monument not only to the memories of those we lost but as a center of education and advocacy against hate. This sanctuary will be a place where peace and justice are not just prayed for but actively pursued. It is here, in the heart of Pittsburgh, where we will continue to stand together, unwavering in our resolve to ensure that hate and antisemitism never have a home here.

The ceremony included powerful contributions from survivors, community leaders, and a heartfelt musical performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

In her ongoing commitment to supporting the Tree of Life, Congresswoman Summer Lee played a pivotal role in securing significant federal funding for the new campus. Her efforts in Washington resulted in a $1 million allocation specifically for the rebuilding and transformation of the Tree of Life site, a place deeply scarred by tragedy but destined for renewal. Lee also secured $547,000 for extended Support for 10.27 Healing Partnership to respond to and address the ongoing trauma from the 2018 Synagogue Mass Shooting in the lead-up to and in the aftermath of the trial.

Legislative Action on Gun Violence and Hate Crimes

Lee has been an active voice in the fight against gun violence and hate crimes. A member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, she has led and supported significant legislative efforts aimed at curbing the epidemic of gun violence and addressing the rising tide of hate crimes:

Lead Sponsor on:

  • H.R. 3929 Disarm Hate Act– The bill expands the categories of persons who are prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm. Specifically, it prohibits firearm sale or transfer to and receipt, possession, shipment, or transport by a person (1) who has been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime, or (2) who has received an enhanced hate crime misdemeanor sentence. 
  • H.Res.819 – Recognizing the 5-year anniversary of the horrific antisemitic attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 2018, and condemning antisemitism.

Background on Gun Violence and Hate Crimes

Gun violence remains a critical issue nationwide, with over 44,330 people dying from gun-related incidents in 2022 alone. In Pennsylvania, firearms are the most lethal means of suicide, and Black men are disproportionately affected by gun homicides. Antisemitism and hate crimes have also seen alarming increases, with over 2,031 antisemitic incidents reported in the last quarter of 2023 alone, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive action.


Since taking office in January 2023, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $1.85 Billion brought back to Western PA, including over $580 million for infrastructure, over $110 million for affordable transit, over $400 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania, and over $55 million on clean energy efforts in and around schools to help keep our kids and communities safe. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 2,300 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

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