This December is the 6th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy. Each year in Washington D.C., the Newtown Foundation, the charitable arm of the Newtown Action Alliance, partners with other organizations that advocate gun law reform to host memorials for victims of gun violence across the country. Vigils and events described as services “of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America” are held throughout the month of December. This Saturday, Dec. 8, the Wilton community is invited to the Wilton Quaker Meeting at 2 p.m. for a local Remembrance Event.
Since Sandy Hook, there have been another 1,913 mass shootings in the United States. After the tragedy at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks in November, the number of mass shootings this year alone in the country rose to 307. At that time The Business Insider offered some sad perspective: we were 312 days into the year, meaning the U.S. had nearly as many mass shootings as days in 2018.
Ironically, public mass shootings account for just a tiny fraction of the country’s gun deaths. For many urban schools, gun violence is actually a daily reality. According to the Newtown Foundation, over 600,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns since the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy.
“The Remembrance Vigil in Wilton will give voice to the victims of gun violence, from mass shootings to the everyday gun violence that tragically happens in every community,” says event organizer Peter Murchison. “We will also speak to hope, action, and change that are making a difference to curtail or end gun violence in our communities.”
After attending March for Our Lives earlier this year, Murchison returned to CT eager to do more than what he had been doing–in his words, “showing up and signing petitions.” He vowed to be a “difference maker” and met with number of organizations focused on ending gun violence such as Sandy Hook Promise, Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV), the Newtown Alliance, and more.
Through these connections, Murchison was made aware of the annual national vigil service in Washington D.C., and in looking at the map of associated local vigils, he was surprised to see that there were only two scheduled in the state of Connecticut.
So, he decided to put one together for his local community.
“I took the idea to the Wilton Quaker Meeting–where I am a member–since we have a proud tradition of working towards peace and social justice. They officially approved it and have banded around me in support of this effort,” explains Murchison.
Saturday’s event will include three presenters who have lost loved ones to gun violence, as well as Will Haskell, Wilton’s CT State Senator-elect, and Melissa Kane, a CAGV board member. The event is free and open to the public. Coffee and networking will follow the presentations and childcare will be provided.
“My goal is to keep this epidemic of gun violence in our nation top of mind for the public. While it’s important to inspire discussion, my primary objective is to motivate people to action,” says Murchison. “Following Parkland, there was an amazing activation of all of these young people. If everyone in the country was similarly activated, I think we would have an incredible outcome.”
The Remembrance Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence will take place Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. at Wilton Quaker Meeting, (317 New Canaan Rd.). For more information, please visit the Wilton Quaker Meeting online event page and/or the Facebook event listing.