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.
<-- 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