AFT helps form Newtown 'ribbon of remembrance'

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Six months have passed since 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a grim anniversary that brought scores of AFT staffers together with other citizens in a human "ribbon of remembrance" on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

Newtown Ribbon

The demonstration took place on June 13, the eve of the six-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. AFT staff joined with parents, children and citizens from Newtown, Conn., by donning green T-shirts, the color chosen by the Sandy Hook Elementary community to honor the victims, and massing into the shape of a ribbon outside the Capitol. The heavy AFT turnout not only honored educators and children lost at Sandy Hook, but also the many AFT members from Newtown who are wrapping up the school year and couldn't attend the event.

The ribbon of remembrance honored not only the children and educators killed at the school but also the thousands of other Americans shot and killed since the tragedy. And it called out Congress' failure to act in the aftermath to honor the will of Americans calling for an end to lax federal gun laws; this failure has helped make wanton gun violence all but inevitable.

(Read an op-ed in The New Times by Newtown Federation of Teachers president Tom Kuroski and AFT president Randi Weingarten.)

"We are here to keep pressure on Congress" when it comes to strong gun laws, said Sue Roman, a Newtown resident who traveled to the Capitol to participate in the event. "Newtown is not going away."

Newtown Remembrance

"We are memorializing not only the Newtown victims but also all the thousands lost since then," said the Rev. Matt Crebbin of the Newtown Congregational Church, part of a delegation that traveled from Connecticut for news conferences, congressional visits, demonstrations and other actions to keep Congress mindful of the six-month Sandy Hook anniversary. There have been more than a half-dozen such visits from Newtown citizens to the Capitol this year.

"This is just folks saying, 'I cannot believe something has not been approved' " at the federal level in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Crebbin said, as he surveyed the human ribbon of remembrance. He urged Congress to follow the lead of Connecticut and other states that have heeded the will of voters and enacted commonsense gun laws in the past six months. [Mike Rose/bottom photo by Michael Campbell]

June 14, 2013