CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM TONG TO JOIN SURVIVORS ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE IN REMARKS TO THE COMMUNITY ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5
STAMFORD-BASED GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION GROUP THE ENOUGH CAMPAIGN JOINS NATIONWIDE VIGILS TO END GUN VIOLENCE
VIGIL TIMED FOR SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SANDY HOOK TRAGEDY
WHAT: Seventh Annual Stamford Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence
WHEN: Thursday, December 5, at 5:30 PM
WHERE: In front of the Ferguson Library
Downtown Stamford, corner of Broad and Bedford Streets
WHO: Notable speakers including gun violence survivors, area students, and community leaders, including:
William Tong is the 25th Attorney General to serve Connecticut. Having served for 12 years in Connecticut’s General Assembly, he has helped lead the passage of landmark legislation, including the Domestic Violence Restraining Order Act and the Lost and Stolen Firearms Act. He resides in Stamford.
Terra Volpe is the Director of Community Outreach & Organizer for Connecticut Against Gun Violence. She also serves as President of Action Together Connecticut, a coalition of chapters across the state upholding progressive American values and resisting harmful and intolerant policies.
Carmen Nieves serves as the Program Manager for YouthBuild Bridgeport, a pre-apprentice construction and manufacturing program operated by the WorkPlace, serving opportunity for youth ages 16 to 24. A PLTI Leadership Facilitator, Carmen is a Bridgeport resident and Stamford native. She speaks tonight as a gun violence survivor.
Wil Joseph is the Co-founder of Young Athletes 4 Change, a non-profit organization that facilitates programs and events where social justice, activism and awareness streamline with basketball skill training and performance. A Stamford resident, Wil is a community activist and youth mentor. He speaks tonight as a gun violence survivor.
Juliette Ochoa is an 18 year old student, organizer, activist, and the proud daughter of Colombian immigrants. She recently graduated from the semester-long Gifford’s Courage to Fight Gun Violence fellowship program, founded by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Sophia DuPree is a Stamford High School Student and Co-leader of SHS Students Demand Action. A graduate of the SPEF Children’s Leadership Training Institute, Sophia was one of the youngest speakers to present at the historical youth-led March for Our Lives 2018 rally in Stamford.
Shira Tarantino is the co-founder of The ENOUGH Campaign, which was formed by 13 moms across Fairfield County in the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on December 14, 2012. A global non-profit leader in fundraising and development, she is the founder and director of the Stamford Pediatric Gun Safety Project, in beta.
On Thursday, December 5, 2019 The ENOUGH Campaign, in partnership with the Newtown Foundation, Newtown Action Alliance, and Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV), will gather with members of the community to hold its Seventh 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 seventh anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and to remember and honor the victims and survivors of the Santa Clarita, Fresno, Oklahoma shootings, the recent multiple shootings in Bridgeport, Connecticut — including a teen wounded by gunshot — as well as the 700,000 victims and survivors of gun violence in America since December 2012, the Stamford Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence will take place on Thursday, December 5, at 5:30 PM in front of the Ferguson Library, Downtown Stamford, on the corner of Broad and Bedford Streets.
Shira Tarantino, co-founder of The ENOUGH Campaign, states, “We are holding this vigil to continue to shine a light on the devastating epidemic of gun violence in our communities. As of September 2019, 135 people have been shot and killed in the state of Connecticut, including a young man who was shot and killed in the South End of Stamford this past March. Eighty-three of these gun deaths were suicides. Our Stamford Vigil of Hope enables us to not only remember and reflect, but also to honor all victims and survivors of gun violence with action. We hope that attendees will walk away inspired to make a change and pursue peace in their own community.”
While the U.S. government has been stagnant in passing meaningful gun reform laws on the federal level, this past year was a boon for Connecticut in gun violence prevention.
In a historical move this past June, Connecticut passed and signed into law three bills that support gun safety, including two safe storage laws: Ethan’s Law, which calls for the safe storage of firearms in households where children are present, a ban on storing unlocked guns in unattended vehicles, and ban on “ghost guns,” which can be assembled at home by purchasing parts online (the Santa Clarita shooter, who recently killed a 14 year old boy and a 16 year old girl at Saugus High School in California, used an unregistered .45-caliber handgun assembled from parts available for purchase without a background check).
Gun violence survivors rarely see justice in the death of their loved ones. But in a blow to the gun industry, the US Supreme Court, at the beginning of November, declined to hear an appeal on a lawsuit against major gun manufacturer Remington Arms, effectively allowing the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to sue the company and exercise their right to pursue justice.
Nationally, the number of gun deaths in America has increased over the years.
• In 2015, there were 36,252 gun deaths
• In 2016, there were 38,658 gun deaths
• In 2017, there were 39,773 in 2017 (highest in 40 years) [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm]
And every year, there are more than 300 mass shooting incidents - defined as four or more people shot in an incident [https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports].
There will be several notable speakers at this year’s Vigil, including Attorney General William Tong, two area students, two gun violence survivors, and other community leaders. A partner in the Newtown Foundations’s 2019 Nationwide Vigils & Events to #EndGunViolence, the Seventh Annual Stamford Vigil of Hope to End Gun Violence is one of close to 80 local vigils and events being held around the nation. It follows the National Vigil, which takes place in Washington DC the evening before the local Stamford vigil, on Capitol Hill with survivors and families of victims of gun violence.
Po Murray, Chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance and The Newtown Foundation, says, “On the 7th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, we are working with our allies, including The Enough Campaign, to continue to shine a light on the devastating impact of gun violence in all our communities across the nation. Over 700,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns since Sandy Hook, and the majority of the victims, families and the survivors have been forgotten. Local vigils are being held across the nation to honor all the victims of gun violence and provide an opportunity for more Americans to vow to take action to end gun violence."
Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV), who is partnering with The ENOUGH Campaign for this event, is a 25 year old organization which runs programs and services to stem the unceasing tide of gun violence. “Vigils like this are being held across the State of Connecticut and the country to not only honor the victims of Sandy Hook, but also as a call to action to end the senseless deaths from gun violence that occur on a community level, every day,” explains Jeremy Stein of CAGV.
Adds Ms. Tarantino, “The children who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School that day would have been mostly 13 years old now. Many gun deaths are tragedies that can be prevented. One of the purposes of the Stamford Vigil of Hope is to keep the conversation about gun violence at the fore. We must keep talking about it in order to make sure that no child or loved one ever again dies from a single bullet. So tonight, we not only light a candle to grieve, remember and honor, but also hope that the Vigil inspires people to take action.”
Partnering locally together with The ENOUGH Campaign, The Newtown Foundation, Newtown Action Alliance, and Connecticut Against Gun Violence, the Stamford Vigil of Hope is part of a nationwide tribute in partnership with the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, American Association of Suicidology, American Gun Safety Association, Amnesty International USA, Bishops United Against Gun Violence, Blessed Ministries & Blessed Devotions, Brady, Brady Campaign Stanislaus County California, Campaign to Unload, Ceasefire Oregon, CeaseFirePA, Center for American Progress, Coalition Against Gun Violence-A Santa Barbara County Coalition, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Community Justice Action Fund, Community of Sant'Egidio, Concerned Citizens Against Gun Violence, CT Against Gun Violence, Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Equality California, Everytown Survivor Network, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, Franciscan Action Network, Gays Against Guns, Generation Progress, Georgians for Gun Safety, Giffords, Gun Safety Alliance, Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee, Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah, Gun Violence Prevention PAC, GunsenseVermont, Healing 4 Our Families & Our Nation, Herndon Reston Citizens Against Gun Violence, Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, International Health & Epidemiology Research Center, Jewish Women International, Journey 4ward, Jr Newtown Action Alliance, Maine Gun Safety Coalition, March for Our Lives, March For Our Lives DC, March For Our Lives Virginia, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, Micah Leadership Council, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, National Council of Jewish Women, National Equality Action Team (NEAT), #NoRA, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, On Earth Peace, Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, Protect Minnesota, Psychiatrists for Gun Violence Prevention, Purpose Over Pain, Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention, Sandy Hook Promise, Silver State Equality-Nevada, Sisters of ST. Francis Justice, Peace and Care for Creation Committee, Srs. of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Marks Episcopal Church Capitol Hill DC, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Stop Handgun Violence, Survivors Empowered, Survivors Lead, Temple Micah, The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, This Is Our Lane, Urban Word NYC, Vision Quilt, Washington National Cathedral, WAVE Educational Fund, Women's March and Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice.
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
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 Violence (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.
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Photo above: President Obama speaks in Hartford, CT.
Blossom Hill Photography