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BY TEQUILA MINSKY | Holiday preparations and a chill in the air didn’t stop more than 100 New Yorkers from responding to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy with a “Hands Across the Brooklyn Bridge” vigil on Sunday evening Dec. 23.
State Senator Eric Adams and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel led the vigil marchers onto the bridge from the Manhattan side. More than double that number came onto the span from its Brooklyn side. There were many parents with their children holding candles. They all joined together to say, “Enough is enough.”
As people gathered on the Manhattan side before the march, Siegel said, “We do not have to accept gun violence. We can and must change the epidemic of gun violence.” He urged the public to contact national and state elected officials and tell them, “We oppose gun violence and we demand action from them now.”
Among the public and elected officials who spoke were former city comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson and Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents Washington Heights and Inwood. Brooklyn Congressmember Yvette Clarke emphasized how gun violence affects all of us.
Adams told the crowd, “America should not lead the globe in the number of deaths by guns. This is insane.“
Also on the bridge was Councilmember Jumaane Williams, who represents Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie, among those who met up from the Brooklyn side.
In Occupy Wall Street “mic check” fashion, Adams called out the names — and the marchers then repeated them — of those who died in the recent carnage in Newtown, Connecticut.
Suggestions for gun reform include reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, the banning of high-capacity bullet clips, improved background checks for people with histories of mental illness, and initiating a national gun registration/inspection system similar to the motor vehicle registration/inspection system.
The bridge was used as a symbol to illustrate that the entire city was coming together in collective grief and action.