December 13, 2017

Vigil to end gun violence set for Dec. 14 in village

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A half-hour candlelight vigil will be held Dec. 14 at the steps of the Old Brick Church in WIlliston to mark the anniversary of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and to advocate for an end to gun violence.

Williston members of Gun Sense Vermont invite community members to the steps of the Old Brick Church in Williston Village to join peace activists from around the country in marking the fifth anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting and push for a future free of gun violence.

The half-hour candlelight vigil will begin at 7 p.m. with an open microphone for people wanting to speak on the subject.

Gun violence activists have held annual vigils around the country on the anniversary of the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This will be the first in Williston.

Bob Pasco and Ruth Magill, both Gun Sense Vermont members, are organizing the event. They are placing posters around town and contacting the roughly 100 Gun Sense members who live in Williston. All community members are welcome.

“Let’s take a moment and take stock of what has happened in our culture,” Pasco said.

For Pasco, a retired educator, and Magill, a member of the Williston Federated Church, their focus is on shootings that have taken place at schools and churches, most recently Nov. 5 at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“Our intent is to remember these violent disasters and the feeling that we want our community to be a safe space,” Magill said.

Gun Sense Vermont promotes laws — like universal background checks for gun purchasers — that would better control the sale of guns. Other groups involved in organizing the vigil nationally are the Newtown Foundation, Newtown Action Alliance, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown Survivor Network, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“All of the groups that have been against gun violence have come together to say ‘let’s do this across the country,’” Magill said.

She and Pasco would like to keep the politics of gun control out of the discussion at the Williston vigil. Instead, they hope people offer prayers, remembrances and hopes for the community.

— Jason Starr

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