The parents of slain Jewish teenager Blaze Bernstein spoke this morning with a Fox station in California about how they are coping with their son’s death and trying to shift public focus from tragedy to optimism.
“We want this to be more than a moment, we want this to be a movement,” said Gideon Bernstein, Blaze’s father, speaking on the program Good Day L.A. “A movement of optimism, getting people to look at how many good things that can do to change the world.”
Blaze’s mother, Jeanne Pepper, described her son as a unique human being with “many gifts who was going to share them with us all” and told two reporters that she and her husband are hoping the public may remember more about her son than his death. “We can chose to focus on the past that we can’t change, or we can choose to look forward,” Pepper said.
“It sounds like you’re trying to preach love,” one reporter said.
“That’s the solution,” Pepper said. “There’s a future in love. There’s not future in hate.”
The interview comes a day before the arraignment of Blaze Bernstein’s alleged killer Samuel Woodward, who was arrested earlier this month after after DNA evidence at the crime scene and inside his car tied him to the slaying.
Woodward is charged with one felony count of murder and a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court in January, but the hearing was postponed until Feb. 2.
Recent reports have tied Woodward to an active American neo-Nazi group. Though the motives of the killing are unknown, hate crime charges are still being considered.
Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.
Parents Of Blaze Bernstein Preach Love After Murder