For Immediate Release
"Too Many Victims" Vigils Reflect Unending Pain; A Pledge to Protect Others From Senseless Loss
WASHINGTON - The Brady Campaign today announced that leaders and victim advocates across the nation – from Chicago to Austin; Santa Barbara to Harlem; Chattanooga to Detroit, Norfolk to Vancouver, and everywhere in between - have organized more than 60 vigils in 22 states and the District of Columbia to honor the victims of the Tucson shootings and gun violence victims across the nation. These leaders and the victims they represent are a cross-section of America in every dimension, reflecting the reality that preventable gun violence impacts all American communities.
Chicago, IL will host no fewer than five vigils, held in churches around the city. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley will attend the vigil hosted by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence at the First United Church at Chicago Temple. Elder Bernice King, youngest child of Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, will speak at the vigil at St. Sabina Church; Rev. Corey Brooks, highlighted by the national media for his rooftop vigil on behalf of troubled youth, will preside over the vigil at his church, New Beginnings Church. Vigils are also being organized in the Illinois towns of Glencoe, Lisle, and Northbrook. Ricardo Cobe Williams, an outreach worker for Ceasefire Chicago, will attend the vigil in Glencoe that includes a screening of the film about the work of Ceasefire Chicago, "The Interrupters."
Austin, TX’s vigil will be held at the state capitol and will honor the memory of Jennifer Crecente, who was brutally murdered at the age of 18 by her ex-boyfriend. Jennifer’s mother said, “My hope is that Jennifer will live through our words and that she still can make a difference in people’s lives.”
Santa Barbara, CA’s vigil on the steps of the county courthouse features U.S. Representative Lois Capps. Organized by the Coalition Against Gun Violence, Mayor Helene Schneider will announce a Santa Barbara city proclamation, and Supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal will present a countywide resolution.
Harlem, NY will bring together victims of gun violence, including U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and will feature Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network.
Chattanooga, TN’s Rev. Ternae Jordan is the leader of Stop the Madness, the host of the vigil at Olivet Baptist Church. Rev. Jordan’s son survived a wound from a stray bullet 20 years ago as he played piano. Less than two weeks ago on Christmas Eve, Rev. Jordan was awakened by police at 2 a.m. to the news that 9 youths had been shot departing a youth gathering at a downtown church.
Detroit, MI’s Frank McGhee, executive director of the National Service Organization’s Youth Initiatives Project will host a vigil on a playfield located at the corner of Beland and Manning Streets. The Youth Initiatives Project has sent youth from violence-plagued neighborhoods to college and is an active force in the community.
Norfolk, VA’s vigil is hosted by the League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads at the YWCA of Hampton Roads and will not only honor victims but hold a discussion to identify solutions.
Vancouver, WA’s vigil host Heidi Yewman graduated from Columbine High School, 13 years before it became a painful symbol of gun violence. Her former basketball coach Dave Sanders was murdered that day, along with 12 other students. Heidi wrote Beyond The Bullet to highlight every day Americans’ experience with gun violence. In her blog, Heidi said, “The Columbine massacre affected me deeply. I couldn't believe such madness could happen at my safe, suburban, picture-perfect high school. At Dave's memorial service, one of the speakers said, "We can't control what happens, but we can control how we react to it."
Washington, DC's vigil at Shiloh Baptist Church will feature D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, members of Congress, and local victims of gun violence, including: The D.C. vigil will include the following speakers, who have personally been affected by gun violence:
Nardyne Jeffries, who lost her 16-year-old daughter, Brishell Jones, in a mass shooting in Southeast D.C. in March 2010. Four other youths survived their wounds and four others died. Ms. Jeffries is an eloquent spokesperson for ending gun violence and supporting our youths.
William Kellibrew, who lost a mother and brother in a shooting when he was just 10 years old. William travels the country and around the world advocating for peace, speaking about domestic violence, and the problems of gun violence. He recently was recognized as a White House Champion of Change.
Colin Goddard, who survived being shot four times at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. Thirty-two people, including students and a teacher, were killed at Virginia Tech. Sixteen others besides Colin were shot. Colin works at the Brady Campaign as an advocate to prevent gun violence and is the subject of Living for 32, a documentary about his journey from victim to advocate.
To find a vigil around the country, go to http://www.bradycampaign.org/toomanyvictims/local-vigils/.
On December 20, the Brady Campaign announced that Too Many Victims national remembrances of gun violence victims would be held in cities across the United States throughout the day on January 8, 2012, which marks one year since the Tucson, AZ shootings. Those shootings stunned the nation and took the lives of six Americans, and wounded 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
In recent days, the Brady Campaign announced the participation of Dana Ressler, an aunt of Christina-Taylor Green, who was killed in Tucson. Ressler speaks out forcefully against gun violence in a tribute to her 9-year-old niece on the toomanyvictims.org tribute page and will host a private vigil in her rural Maryland home where Christina was born.
Daniel Hernandez, who was an intern for Rep. Giffords on that tragic day, has pledged to light a candle on January 8. Hernandez courageously ran toward the shots when they rang out, quickly aiding the Congresswoman. He is credited with helping to save her life. Hernandez is featured in a poster on toomanyvictims.org.
The Brady Campaign also released a new video of celebrities and victim advocates who have pledged to light a candle on the anniversary of the Tucson shooting this Sunday including Plaxico Burress, Marcellus Wiley, Rev. Al Sharpton, Comedian Lewis Black, Tucson Hero Daniel Hernandez, Virginia Tech Shooting Survivor Colin Goddard, and Actor Michael Douglas.
The Too Many Victims campaign’s first video, How Many Are Too Many? communicates in numbers the toll that gun violence has taken on the nation. Gun violence has claimed a staggering number of lives, including an estimated 579,411, since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated in 1968.
Sustain our Journalism
If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent journalism, please support our Spring drive now and help progressive media that believes as passionately as you do in defending the common good and building a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence.
We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.