POWAY, Calif. – Many walked into Poway High School’s football stadium Monday night expecting a somber mood; instead, they left with smiles and a sense of encouragement.
“Everyone having their arms around each other singing ‘This land is your land’ just really inspired me,” said Lyndsi Sherman, a Poway resident.
Nearly 4,000 people packed into the stadium to hear leaders from the Jewish and Christian faiths speak. The overall theme focused on love and letting go of hate.
“The message was clear, and I agree that there is no room for hate,” said Scott Cohen, a Jewish resident of Poway.
“When there’s such tragedy, to be given this gift to remember to love one another, it’s really special,” said Sophie Krupp, a member of a nearby synagogue.
Monday night’s gathering was held less than 72 hours after a 19-year-old gunman shot four people at Chabad of Poway. Fittingly, Monday night’s gathering took place at Poway High School to serve as a reminder that younger generations need to learn.
The serious tone at times shifted to brief moments of laughter as a Baptist preacher took the podium.
“You asked me to only speak for three minutes,” he said as the crowd laughed. “I want you all to turn to the person next to you and say I love you.”
“Hate is so divisive,” Krupp added. “When he asked us to turn to one another and say we love each other, I felt connected tonight.”