21 Nov, 2022

VOICES: Supreme Master Knapp Urges Brothers to Fight Hate

21 Nov, 2022

Yesterday, I woke up to news of yet another horrific act of hate and senseless violence. On behalf of AEPi, I want to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the five people killed at Club Q in Colorado Springs. May their memories be a blessing. At the same time I offer Refuah Scheleimah to the many others who were physically injured and those mentally scarred from the incident.

However, I cannot stop there with a simple acknowledgement and words of sympathy. The world cannot simply sit back and expect a miraculous and necessary cultural change without positive education of tolerance and leaders across the board standing up for what is right. As Jews, we empathize. We too, often, experience the pain from dealing with radical bigotry and antisemitism. Whether it be at the Tree of Life synagogue, the Chabad of Poway, the many recent gang-related attacks in New York, the seemingly constant incidents in Israel, or those occurring on one of our many university campuses throughout the world, hate is hate, and must be strongly addressed.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, incidents like this strike me equally hard. The Club Q shooting took place at the beginning of what should have been celebrations of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Similar to Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day was established to pause and reflect upon all of those who were murdered because of who they are and how they identify.  Yet, rather than simply allowing reflection, the day turned into one of adding more to the ranks of those who must be remembered.

I am so incredibly proud to serve as AEPi’s 76th Supreme Master. Leading an organization that understands and proactively engages in efforts to educate our members, spread tolerance, responsibly confront hatred, and support others and allow them to express themselves is truly a privilege. Not that long ago, our undergraduate Brothers sponsored amendments to our constitution to confirm our inclusiveness and admission of any individual who self-identifies as male at the time of his induction into our ranks. We also understand that the world will not change when we allow celebrities, politicians, university professors and many others to spew hateful rhetoric without consequence. While AEPi is apolitical, we also join in the many calls for our political leaders to advance their bipartisan efforts to search for and enact sensible gun protection laws that hopefully curtail otherwise hate crimes and future mass shootings.

My best to all of our U.S. Brothers for a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.

AEPi encourages our Brothers to submit opinion pieces on relevant topics or experiences for our regular Voices column. These articles do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity but reflect the opinions of the author. Publication and editing is at the discretion of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Inc.