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Pittsburgh and Duolingo are stronger than hate

This is the message I sent to Duolingo employees about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting this week.

Like many of you, I'm still in shock about Saturday's horrible shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. I'm not normally a very emotional person, but standing at the vigil just a few blocks away from my house made me get a knot in my stomach. How could this have happened in this city, in my neighborhood, and in 2018?

My hope is that we can take this as an opportunity to come closer together and to stand against an increasingly more common rhetoric of hatred and divisiveness. As a community, as a company, and as a product, we should continue doing everything we can to support dialogue and inclusion, and to bring the world closer together. This was not just an attack against the synagogue and the Jewish community, but also a direct attack against everything we stand for.

It's difficult to know what to do in situations like these, but I want to encourage you all to discuss this event and your feelings about it with others.

For those in Pittsburgh, they are still in need of blood donations:

  • American Red Cross will be holding a drive inside the William Pitt Building at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Appointments can be made at www.redcrossblood.org. Use the code PITT.

  • You can visit the Vitalant Website for more details on blood drives around the city (https://www.vitalant.org/Home.aspx).

And for those outside of Pittsburgh:

October 29, 2018



Very well said, Luis.

The tragic events that happened in Pittsburgh have made me, hundreds of miles away, heartbroken. To hear news of this evil in my own country has left me, and many others, with a very bad feeling.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Pittsburgh. And thank you for making this post to send them out on behalf of Duolingo.

October 29, 2018


My thoughts and prayers as well. Remember, love is stronger than hate.

Here are some images I found of solidarity from around the world.

From the Empire State Building at home

To the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

To the Old City Wall of Jerusalem

Up North in Toronto, Canada

And the Municipal Building in Tel Aviv

October 30, 2018


Black or white, foreigner or native, English or Spanish speaking, atheist or theist, left wing or right wing, it does not matter. We must heal the divide within our beautiful America. Peace to all.

R.I.P. to all the victims. May you join the Lord’s loving embrace.

October 29, 2018


Amen, DestinyIsPeace.

I like how you said "left wing or right wing". I'm sick of people trying to use this tragic event for political gain.

October 29, 2018


By default and in principle a language learning project like Duolingo cannot be xenophobic and misanthropic.

One can think of anything, but he can not believe that our world can have a future with such ideas and opinions. Very well said, Luis, "As a community, as a company and as a product, we should continue doing everything we can to support dialogue and inclusion, and bring the world closer together."

It is our duty as active citizens to keep in mind always the humanitarian ideas. If we do not, we will have failed to make a better world for our children.

October 29, 2018


Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba b’alma di-v’ra

chirutei, v’yamlich malchutei b’chayeichon

uvyomeichon uvchayei d’chol beit yisrael, ba’agala

uvizman kariv, v’im’ru: “amen.”

Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach l’alam ul’almei almaya.

Yitbarach v’yishtabach, v’yitpa’ar v’yitromam

v’yitnaseh, v’yithadar v’yit’aleh v’yit’halal sh’mei

d’kud’sha, b’rich hu,

l’eila min-kol-birchata v’shirata, tushb’chata

v’nechemata da’amiran b’alma, v’im’ru: “amen.”

Y’hei shlama raba min-sh’maya v’chayim aleinu

v’al-kol-yisrael, v’im’ru: Amen

October 30, 2018


Thank you, Luis. This tragedy has shook multiple communities. Thank you for sharing the info as well as bringing it up. May we work together in our communities across the world to end this violence, and may those affected find comfort.

October 29, 2018


Look what's happening around the world. Folks are being led by zealots whose speeches inspire hatred. I am reminded of The Sea of Faith, by Stephen O'Shea and one of his statements at the end of the book: "Religion, for all its solace, will always be a ready-made grenade to be hurled by those seeking to inspire terror or wage war."

As major nations are racing towards arms, I am reminded of my own quote: "After 200,000 years, humans are still like monkeys in trees trying to work something out."

My advice to everyone is to arm yourselves with knowledge. With that weapon you can transform suffering into happiness.

October 30, 2018


Yes!! Like phopkins said, knowledge really is the key to the future. Thanks to the both of you.

October 30, 2018


Knowledge and wisdom from God. :)

October 30, 2018

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