PITTSBURGH — In the hours following the Tree of Life tragedy, an image went viral, and it became the symbol of Pittsburgh during the last year.
"It was a rainy morning, and I was out moving the truck and heard the sirens," said Tim Hindes of South Park.
Hindes said he was about a mile away when worshipers inside the Tree of Life were attacked. The graphic designer spent the rest of the day glued to the TV, watching in disbelief.
"I was playing around with shapes and doodling, focusing the symbol of steel really resonated with me," said Hindes. "I wanted to really represent the strength of Pittsburgh."
In just 15 minutes, Hindes came up with a design using the Star of David, the steel symbol known to many as the three-colored diamond stars in the Steelers logo and the phrase, "Stronger Than Hate".
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"It was meant to be my own personal reflection on the situation and wanted to share my condolences. The shooter came from the same community that I did."
Hindes grew up in Baldwin-Whitehall, the very same community in which the 46-year old suspect lived. He shared the image on Facebook and in a few hours, it went viral.
"It really got to me," said Hindes. "I was driving down to my parent's house the day or two after. I saw four or five businesses along the way that had posted the symbol along an electronic marquee, on a yard sign or a chalkboard, that made me realize what the symbol had with others."
The next day, Hindes got a call from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team wanted to partner with him to make sure the proceeds from any merchandise using the symbol would go back to the victim's families or anti-hate groups in Pittsburgh. More than $70,000 went to Victims of Terror Fund by the end of last year's Steelers season.
Hindes is humbled by how far-reaching the symbol has become, it's been shared around the world, like in Prague on the John Lennon wall. He hopes the message behind it is spreading as quickly.
"It's hard to measure the breadth of the impact of the symbol I know it's been tremendous," said Hindes.
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