Hosts The ENOUGH Campaign and Bethel AME Church of Stamford Inspire Hope and Action, Marking the 6th Anniversary of Sandy Hook
Program of the evening included:
Opening remarks, The Reverend Dr. Robert Augustus Jackson, Jr., D.Min., Pastor, Bethel AME Church
Michael Pollard, Chief of Staff of the City of Stamford
Jack Bryant, President, NAACP Stamford
Archie Elam, West Point graduate and Gulf War Veteran
CANDLE LIGHTING - Dana Horowitz, Everytown Survivor Network
MOMENT OF SILENCE
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” performed by Jazz Vocalist Sylvia Mims
Wil Joseph, Hoops4All
Shira Tarantino, The ENOUGH Campaign
Shayna Druckman, Student, Stamford High and Students Demand Action youth leader, reads from a poem by Sophia Dupree, Student, Stamford High, CLTI and PEP/SEE graduate
Chloe Giulini, Student of Westhill High School, President of Feminism Club
Jeremy Stein, Executive Director, CT Against Gun Violence
By Ignacio Laguarda, Stamford Advocate
STAMFORD — Archie Elam has witnessed gun violence up close, and his message to those who attended an anti-gun violence vigil on Wednesday in Stamford was that there’s no glory in firearms.
“There is nothing glorious about a gun. Nothing,” said Elam, a West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran. “We need to challenge the notion that holding a gun brings you power … it brings you dates with the fairer sex, it brings you recognition. It does none of those things.”
Elam was one of a handful of speakers at the Bethel AME Church on the West Side during the “Vigil of Hope,” organized by the ENOUGH Campaign, a Stamford gun violence prevention civic action group.
Shira Tarantino, co-founder of the group, said the vigil had previously been held in downtown, but she decided to move it to Stamford’s West Side because both gun-related deaths in the city this year occurred in the neighborhood.
Antonio Robinson, 18, a former co-captain of the Stamford High School football team, was killed over the summer. Marcus Hall, 16, a Westhill High School student, spent two nights in the hospital in critical condition from a gunshot wound before he died Sept. 24 after the family took him off life support.
Tarantino said 2018 has been a “really hard year for Stamford.”
“The ENOUGH campaign is really concerned about the two gun deaths that happened, both young boys, both from the West Side,” she said. The West Side of Stamford has the highest rates of gun incidents in the city.
The ENOUGH Campaign holds the annual vigil in commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and to remember those shot and killed this year in Stamford.
On Wednesday, community leaders spoke of honoring those who have died of gun violence, but also of creating legislation to curb the gun epidemic.
Jeremy Ian Stein, executive director of CT Against Gun Violence, said his organization is working to help pass “sensible gun laws,” such as a safe storage protection law that would require both loaded and unloaded firearms be properly stored if a minor is likely to gain access to them.
Currently, only loaded guns must be stored properly. The bill would also raise the age of minors from under 16 to 18.
“We need to do something about the plague that is gun violence,” Stein said.
The Stamford Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence is one of nearly 350 local vigils and events in 41 states around the nation organized by the Newtown Action Alliance.
6th Annual Stamford Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence to be Held in Honor of Local Youth Killed by Guns
We post this with a heavy heart today as it has been six years since 20 first graders and six educators were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in neighboring Newtown, CT.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
150 Fairfield Avenue
Stamford, CT 06902
(between Richmond Hill Ave & Perry St.)
Parking in lot next to church.
Please come light a candle with us as we honor with action those lost to gun violence.
Music, candle lighting, reflection.
Free and open to the community.
On Wednesday, December 19, 2018 The ENOUGH Campaign , in partnership with the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Stamford , will gather with members of the community to hold its Sixth Annual Stamford Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence honoring the lives lost to the epidemic of gun violence in America.
In commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and to remember and honor the two boys who were shot and killed this year in Stamford - as well as the 600,000 victims and survivors of gun violence in America since December 2012 - the Vigil will take place on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 6:00 PM, at the Bethel AME Church on 150 Fairfield Avenue in Stamford, CT .
“This year was an especially trying time for gun violence in our city. Two sons of Stamford - Antonio Robinson and Marcus Hall - were both shot and killed in separate incidents in 2018. The west side location for this vigil is especially meaningful because it is the same neighborhood where the highest rates of gun incidents in the city occur, and where we lost both Antonio and Marcus to gun violence,” said Shira Tarantino, co-founder of The ENOUGH Campaign, Stamford-based gun violence prevention civic action group. She laments, “ No child deserves to die such a violent death .”
Antonio Robinson, 18, a former co-captain of the Stamford High School football team, was set to receive his diploma last June from Stamford Academy. Instead, he was shot and killed on the eve of his graduating month.
Westhill High School student Marcus Hall, 16, spent two nights in the hospital in critical condition from a gun shot wound before he died on September 24 after the family took him off life support.
A partner in the 2018 Nationwide Vigils & Events to #EndGunViolencesponsored by the Newtown Foundation , The Stamford Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence is one of nearly 350 local vigils and events in 41 states around the nation organized by the Newtown Action Alliance (NAA) . It follows the National Vigil, which took place in Washington DC at the beginning of the month on Capitol Hill with survivors and families of victims of gun violence.
Reverend Dr. Robert A. Jackson, Jr., Pastor , states, “Bethel A.M.E. Church is honored to host the 6th Annual Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends who have lost loved ones as a result of these senseless shootings. Please join us as we raise awareness around the impact of gun violence and remember individuals who have lost their lives. ”
“ 2,700 children and teens are shot and killed and nearly 14,500 more are shot and injured every year. This includes Antonio and Marcus,” Ms. Tarantino adds. “Yet gun violence is preventable through legislative, social, and cultural change. We invite the community to light a candle as we honor all of those lost to gun violence through mindful reflection. The purpose of this vigil is to inspire and engage people to action and encourage them to join in our efforts to end gun violence.”
Partnering locally together with The ENOUGH Campaign , Bethel AME Church of Stamford, CT Against Gun Violence, Brady Campaign SWCT , and Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence , the Stamford vigil will be part of a nationwide tribute in partnership with the Newtown Foundation, Newtown Action Alliance, American Gun Safety Association, Amnesty International, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Center for American Progress, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Community of Sant'Egidio, Community Justice Reform Coalition, Docs Demand Action, Everytown Survivor Network, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Junior Newtown Action Alliance, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, #NoRA, On Earth Peace, Organizing for Action, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, St Marks Episcopal Church, Survivors Empowered, Survivors Lead and Women's March .
The mission of The ENOUGH Campaign is to protect our families and our country as we advocate for more public awareness on the issues of gun violence prevention in America. Through legislative advocacy and community education, we champion stronger gun laws and aim to transform public perceptions of gun safety. The ENOUGH Campaign is a proud member of the Newtown Action Alliance. www.theENOUGHcampaign.com
The Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV) mission is to identify, develop, and promote passage of legislation designed to enhance gun safety. CAGV will pursue this mission at the local, state of Connecticut, and national levels through the political process. www.cagv.org
Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence mission: Joining hands to work for common sense state and federal regulation of firearms to help reduce gun violence. http://www.facebook.com/greenwichcouncilagainstgunviolence
Brady Campaign Southwestern CT Chapter represents the local chapter of the Brady to Prevent Gun Violence Campaign (full mission below), covering towns of Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk and others in southwestern CT. https://www.facebook.com/SouthwesternCTBradyChapter
The Newtown Foundation (TNF) is a charitable arm of the Newtown Action Alliance. It is a Newtown-based; all volunteer organization formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Our mission is “To provide comfort, education, scholarship and other support and resources to people and communities impacted by, and living or growing up among or in the aftermath, of violence in American society; and to help them lead the way toward positive cultural change over the long term.” Learn more about the Newtown Foundation at http://foundation.newtownaction.org/ .
Newtown Action Alliance is a grassroots organization formed after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It works to make America’s children, families, and all citizens safer through legislative and cultural change that will reduce gun violence in our nation. Learn more about the Newtown Action Alliance at http://alliance.newtownaction.org/.
American Gun Safety Association is working to pass state laws for coordinated regulation of firearms and their owners, like we have for motor vehicles. We have no nationwide system to manage the rights and responsibilities of gun owners and balance these with public safety needs, like we have for cars and trucks. AGSA is committed to developing and adopting a "Model Code for Safe and Responsible Firearm Ownership and Operation." This will give us unified systems of responsibility for gun ownership and use, like we have in all 50 states for cars and trucks. Join AGSA, challenge the NRA! https://www.agsaaction.org/
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
The Brady Campaign and Center , united with the Million Mom March , is a national network of more than 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother’s Day 2000. The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement, and effective policy advocacy.
The Community Justice Reform Coalition (CJRC) is a national advocacy organization with the focus of addressing the intersection of gun violence prevention and uplifting criminal justice reform in urban communities of color. CJRC centers people of color across movements by creating spaces at policymaking tables, building pipelines for marginalized communities to lead on gun safety, and establishing networks to share skills and strategies across generations of trusted organizers. CJRC is the only national organization in the country working on gun violence prevention in communities of color and centering voices of color in the gun safety movement. Learn more about CJRC at www.communityjusticerc.org .
Everytown Survivor Network brings together Americans who have been personally affected by gun violence to work together to fight for solutions to prevent the gun violence that kills 93 Americans and injures hundreds more every day. The Survivor Network connects people who have been shot and loved ones of those who have been shot or killed, to build community and empower survivors to become advocates and leaders in the gun violence prevention movement.
The Survivor Network, along with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns , is part of Everytown for Gun Safety , the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than three million members and more than 140,000 donors. To learn more about Everytown's work with survivors or to join the Survivor Network, please visit www.everytown.org/survivors .
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is a diverse coalition of more than 50 denominations and faith-based organizations united by the call of our faiths to confront America’s gun violence epidemic and to rally support for policies that reduce death and injury from gunfire. Learn more about Faiths United at http://faithsunited.org.
Junior Newtown Action Alliance (Jr NAA) is a club at Newtown High School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, that is focused on empowering students locally and beyond to end gun violence in America.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of American mothers fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and protect people from gun violence. Moms Demand Action campaigns for new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our children and families. Since its inception after the tragedy at Sandy Hook School, Moms Demand Action has established a chapter in every state of the country and, along with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Everytown Survivor Network, it is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than three million supporters and more than 140,000 donors. For more information or to get involved visit www.momsdemandaction.org. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction or on Twitter at @MomsDemand
#NoRA (https://noranow.org/) is a new kind of collective action. We’re a culture hack. We’re diverse coalition of artists, activists, celebrities, survivors of gun violence, and policy experts working to move American culture into a less violent place by counteracting the influence of NRA money in our political system. And we’re going to win.
On Earth Peace equips and accompanies Beloved Communities of justice and peace. We envision a world in Beloved Community free from violence, oppression, and war. We work with the spiritual and practical disciplines of active nonviolence, community building, and conflict transformation.
Organizing for Action (OFA) is a non-partisan, issue advocacy organization committed to growing the grassroots movement by training, educating, and activating civically-engaged community members across the country. As a grassroots driven organization, OFA is dedicated to empowering action-takers with the skills and tools needed to tip the scales of power back to the American people and away from the special interests in Washington, D.C. More information at www.barackobama.com .
States United to Prevent Gun Violenc e (www.ceasefireusa.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to making our families and communities safer. As part of our 50 State Solution to end gun violence, we support our 31 existing state-based gun violence prevention groups and work to bring new partners into the movement.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is an open community, welcoming people wherever they are on their faith journey. We celebrate the gifts of God that empower us to engage boldly in the struggles of life and care for others with love, justice and compassion. Learn more about St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at http://www.stmarks.net .
Survivors Empowered (https://www.survivorsempowered.org/) is an organization founded by Sandy and Lonnie Phillips after the slaughter of their daughter, Jessica Redfield Ghawi and eleven others in the Aurora Colorado Theater Mass Shooting in 2012. Their original non-profit, Jessi’s Message, has grown into Survivors Empowered - a national organization created By Survivors, For Survivors, Empowering Survivors.
Survivors Lead provides professional and peer support, advocacy and political training for Survivors of gun violence, sexual and domestic violence. We take a municipality-based approach to curbing gun violence, focused on survivor-led efforts to end gun violence in our cities. We work with families and assist them in advocating for their murdered loved one in unsolved/active cases, provide survivor peer support throughout the trial process and beyond. We are developing retreats between survivors of police violence and law enforcement cadets to address police violence and mass incarceration, and offer political trainings to assist survivors of violence in running for public office.
The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists and organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.
Jackie Pioli is perhaps the most important local gun safety candidate in Stamford, Connecticut. After a year of gun violence in our neighborhoods, with two youth shot and killed - Stamford Academy student Antonio Robinson,18, and Westhill High School student Marcus Hall, 16 - members of the community seek better prevention strategies.
“The ENOUGH Campaign is laser-focused on curbing local gun violence and ways to prevent tragedies like those that have happened in recent months,” says co-founder Shira Tarantino. “We believe that one of the biggest factors in neighborhood gun violence in Stamford is the disenfranchisement of families with children. While our Stamford public school system has the capacity and collective expertise to be able to reach these children, our current Board of Education hasn’t fully harnessed these strengths.
“We believe that Jackie Pioli’s plan to reintroduce disenfranchised families back into the Stamford public school system is the missing piece in local gun violence prevention, part of a holistic strategy which is lacking in the Stamford Board of Education,” explains Ms. Tarantino. "Stamford Public Schools has an opportunity to create a model for other school systems across Connecticut with Jackie Pioli on the Board."
Jackie Pioli understands the need for Stamford Public Schools to put boots on the ground, go into the community, and speak with families face to face to inform and to establish trust. The ENOUGH Campaign has therefore chosen to support Jackie Pioli as our candidate for Stamford Board of Education.
During a visit with Ms. Pioli at her meet and greet, she explained to attendees her platform of transparency, accountability, and connecting with community:
“I realized that door knocking, focusing on the West Side, East Side and South End (now Harbor Point), that parents are uninformed, and there is no trust anymore,” said Ms. Pioli. “We can’t expect them to get to school meetings. We have to push again for staff to do home visits. If kids aren’t coming to school, then go knock on their door. Ask. We have social workers - they’re allowed to do home visits.”
Ms. Pioli continued, “With some of our schools and the way that they’re districted, transportation is a huge issue for parents to get all the way on the other side of town at 5:00 pm to go to a PTA or Board of Ed meeting. So I always push that you have to go into the communities who aren’t involved, and find out why they’re not. You can’t expect them to go to schools, because they’re already disengaged. We can keep inviting them, but if you’re not on the ground where they are in their community, then no one’s paying attention [to their needs]. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned: to re-engage the community, you have to go where they are.”
Jackie Pioli feels that the make-up of the board doesn’t represent all of the neighborhoods in Stamford.
“The reason why I’m running for the Board of Ed is not that I’m a politician or that I want to be Mayor or on the Board of Reps. It’s that I’m a parent, I’m concerned, and the Board of Education needs to represent the parents who are in the schools.”
Currently, there is only one Board of Education member who still has children in Stamford Public Schools. In addition, Jackie’s opponent and current board president David Mannis has never had children in the public school system.
Ms. Pioli circled back to making important connections with families: “It’s one thing to go to bi-weekly board meetings, but another to actually be on the ground and talk with people. And I believe that that’s the best way to communicate and get our needs as parents back to the Board of Ed.”
Jackie Pioli is a graduate of the Stamford Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) and the Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (Parents SEE) class. She is highly active in local school issues, and has actively attended the Stamford Board of Education meetings for the past three years. She served on the Rippowam Middle School behavior committee, the district’s Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee and SBRI pilot program, the Parent-Teacher Council, SCOPES and many more volunteer roles.
With a professional background in the banking industry, she left to help advocate for her son who has special needs, through which she found her calling and became an educational advocate. Jackie Pioli is invested in education, not only as a public school parent, but also as a proven leader who stands up for children and families.
An endorsed Democratic candidate by the Stamford Democratic City Committee, Jackie Pioli has also received the endorsement of the Stamford Teachers Association.
Jackie Pioli is the only gun safety candidate on the Stamford Board of Education ticket. The Stamford ballot is two sided, and the Board of Ed ticket is on the back, in which there is only one seat open for a Democrat. The ENOUGH Campaign recommends you choose ONLY Jackie Pioli to advance her past her Democratic opponents. Vote for Jackie Pioli for Stamford Board of Education this Tuesday, November 6.
To learn more about Jackie Pioli, go to https://www.pioliforboe.com.
Find your polling location here: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx
Our hearts are broken.
Our hearts hang heavy following the largest killing to date of Jews in the U.S. We denounce hate in all forms. Hate, fear and ignorance can manifest in horrific ways. And when civilians have unfettered access to firearms, including weapons of war, hate will kill. Today's shooting is a shameful spot on the soul of America.
The ENOUGH Campaign supports people and groups who wish to work together to serve the common good and who support public health measures to curb gun violence. We urge people to go out and VOTE on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 and make your voice heard in the voting booth. Vote for candidates who support gun safety at every level - local, state, and federal - and who will support legislation and bill amendments which aim to stem the unceasing tide of gun violence.
Joyce Fienberg, 75
Rose Mallinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Cecil Rosenthal, 59
David Rosenthal, 54
Daniel Stein, 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69
Richard Gottfried, 65
Bernice Simon, 84
Sylvan Simon, 86
STAMFORD STUDENT ARTISTS PLAN
<-- Get the latest news and information here on how to stop gun violence in your community.
Photo above: President Obama speaks in Hartford, CT.
Blossom Hill Photography