HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Almost exactly a decade after the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, a vigil honoring those lost to gun violence hopes to put an end to shootings.
“Growing up right near Sandy Hook, it is a hard day for all us, but I just think about how every single day is an anniversary of a tragedy for so many people in this nation,” said Caitlin Doherty, a first-year student at Trinity College.
In the somber glow of candles, community leaders, students and the college’s president gathered to remember those who have been killed by gun violence.
“About seven years ago, I lost a family member who was killed by an AR-15,” said Jacquelyn Santiago-Nazario, the CEO of Compass Youth Collaborative. “He didn’t have a chance past 24 years old, and I think about all of the talent that this world is missing, and I think about all the potential that he had that is not going to be realized because we have access to guns and not enough access to mentors and people who can help us navigate tough life issues.”
The vigil included Mothers Against Violence and other Hartford-area nonprofits.
Johanna Schubert, with Hartford Communities that Care, said that de-escalation strategies and meeting systematic needs go beyond helping someone right after they’re injured.
“This is more of a symptom than the root cause, so we work on attacking those root causes — things like poverty, and hunger, and domestic violence,” she said.
Larry Johnson with Compass Youth Collaborative is one of several people who respond in the middle of the night to talk to gunshot victims in hospitals.
“Violence, in many ways, has a domino effect,” he said. “So, the one gunshot victim here in Hartford can’t have that domino effect and hurt neighbors and families down the road.” So, having to get up here and see these mothers grieving and crying with his kids being injured in his home.”