Vigil on Dec. 14 to Connect the Dots Between Newtown and Wilmington
A public vigil will be held from noon until 2:00 on Sunday, Dec. 14, at the corner of Whitby Road and Concord Pike, connecting the dots between Newtown, Conn., and Wilmington. In the two years since 28 lives were lost in Newtown, 41 residents of Wilmington have become homicide victims—all but a few killed by guns.
The high-visibility corner is the site of the Memorial to the Lost, a symbolic T-shirt memorial to the victims of gun violence and other forms of homicide in Wilmington. The memorial was installed on Dec. 6 by members of First Unitarian Church and their partners from the Movement for a Culture of Peace, including DeCAGV.
Members of the church will dedicate the memorial during Sunday’s worship service at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend the service.
The two-hour vigil will begin at noon along Concord Pike. Its purpose to bring greater attention to the ongoing carnage in Wilmington, which this year has tied an all-time record for homicides (27) set in 2010. All are welcome to participate—even if you can’t stay for the full duration of the vigil. Bring signs or banners if you have them.
The Newtown Action Alliance is organizing events in all 50 states to commemorate the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre—and this is Delaware’s chance to be part of that national movement.
The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence supports this action and urges you to attend. The event is listed on DeCAGV’s Facebook page. Give us a like!
Discussions of justice system continue on Dec. 1 at Mother African Union Church
The Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow will have Wilmington Chief of Police Bobby Cummings as its guest on Monday, Dec. 1, at 6:00 pm at Mother African Union Church, 812 N. Franklin St. in Wilmington. Chief Cummings will speak about policing in the city and take questions from the audience.
“We have had many productive discussions with state officials and law enforcement officers from New Castle County and look forward to hearing from Chief Cummings,” says Joan Priest, a member of First Unitarian and a leader of the coalition.
Chuck Singleton, co-leader of the coalition, recently joined the board of DeCAGV.
What is “The New Jim Crow?” And what is this Coalition?
According to Rev. Paula Maiorano, the New Jim Crow is the latest structural form of racism in the U.S. The term was coined by civil rights attorney and author Michelle Alexander in her 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Slavery and Jim Crow were earlier versions. Mass incarceration disproportionately directed to African American males with the War on Drugs used as the delivery vehicle. The outcome has decimated families and urban neighborhoods.
The Coalition was formed to address this structural racism and bring about change. It began several years ago with an interracial study group that read and discussed Alexander’s book. The study group’s meetings alternated between Mother African Union Church and First Unitarian. It has grown into a broad coalition that seeks reforms across the criminal justice system.
The Dec. 1 meeting is free and open to all. Meetings on the first Monday of every month continue to alternate between the two churches. Last month’s meeting drew more than 40 participants.
Wilmington’s new Movement for a Culture of Peace is strongly supported by the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. The grass-roots anti-violence movement grew out of the Sept. 27, March for a Culture of Peace, which DeCAGV helped to organize. Both the march and the new movement have received national attention through Campaign Nonviolence (CNV). DeCAGV acting director George Higgins (right) was on a panel with other local activists at a recent forum held by the Movement for a Culture of Peace. Here’s a report on Wilmington from the Campaign Nonviolence website:
(Wilmington, DE) — The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) met with the families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting yesterday. These family members of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting are in Delaware to advocate for proposed sensible gun legislation, including SB 16 (requiring reporting of lost & stolen guns) and HB 58 (limitation on high capacity gun magazines). Both measures are supported by a majority of Delawareans.
In a very moving conversation, the families shared their personal experiences and the need for smarter gun laws. They also discussed the backlash they have faced and the criticism they have received for becoming active on these important issues.
“Thank you to the Sandy Hook families for coming to Delaware,” said Emily Wearne, a founding member of DeCAGV. “They have directly lived the consequences of weak gun laws, and they have come to Delaware to prevent further gun violence. DeCAGV is urging state legislators to remember the lessons of Sandy Hook and strengthen our local gun laws.”
While Delaware has the weakest gun laws in the region, there is broad support for new legislation. Polling data by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence shows that among each major political party and in each county, a majority of Delawareans support expanded background checks, safe school zones, tougher reporting requirements for lost and stolen guns, and limits on high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons.
The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence’s (DeCAGV) goal is a citizen-led effort to prevent gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible, common sense gun laws and addressing the root causes of gun violence. DeCAGV is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and institutions. Following in the footsteps of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign, and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, DeCAGV shares the view of most Delawareans that we can support the second amendment and still achieve common sense gun laws. For further information, visit www.decagv.org.