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Newtown faith leaders at vigil: 'We stand with Uvalde'

Vigil-goers leave Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Connecticut.
Davis Dunavin
Community members leave a vigil at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Connecticut, on May 26, 2022, for the children and educators who died this week at an elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Faith leaders in Newtown, Connecticut, said on Wednesday night at a vigil that the community knows the pain Uvalde, Texas, is experiencing after this week’s shooting at an elementary school.

At a vigil at Trinity Episcopal Church, pastor Andrea Wyatt told residents Newtown can offer hard wisdom to Uvalde, where 19 children and two educators died.

“We offer our compassion, our heartbreak, our support to our friends in Texas as you begin to walk a road folks in this town know so well," she said. "We stand with Uvalde. You are not alone. We in Newtown are not alone.”

Wyatt was joined by local faith leaders from several Christian denominations, and the Islamic and Bahai communities. Psychiatrist John Woodall spoke on behalf of the Bahai community — and on behalf of his wife.

“I left my wife at home, crying on our bed," he said. "Her last words to me is, 'I can’t go to another vigil for murdered children.' I wanted to stay with her. I feel the same way. I can’t do this again.”

Speaking for the town’s Islamic community, Eman Bashtawii said she also felt the hurt — but the way forward from the Uvalde shooting is through action and political activism.

“Speaking truth to power has always been one of the great acts of worship," she said. "Ten years after Sandy Hook, here we are again. Let us fight this public health crisis by all means possible.”

After the rally, some faith leaders joined activists to march to the headquarters of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun trade group based in Newtown.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.