We Are All Newtown - Part 1
Pastor Sam Saylor, whose son was shot and killed in Hartford, CT shortly before the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, meets with other faith leaders nationwide to fight gun violence in an urban/suburban alliance. This video is part of Independent Lens‘s commitment to fostering collaboration between filmmakers and journalists. “We Are All Newtown” was originally published by People Magazine.
- [Protestor] Rev, we ready?
- [Rev] We ready.
- Let's go.
Peace! - Peace!
- In Connecticut! - In Connecticut!
- Peace! - Peace!
- In our schools! - In our schools!
- Stop the violence!
- Good morning Hartford.
Good morning Hartford.
America has watched Connecticut since December 14
when evil struck Newtown and Connecticut.
The families of Newtown deserve a vote on assault weapons
and high capacity magazines.
- I'm sick and tired of hearing about Newtown.
Newtown this, Newtown that.
I don't wanna hear about it, I want you to know about Shane.
On October 20th in this zip code
my son lost his life at the age of 20.
What did I do?
It did not start in Newtown.
It happened on the streets like Hartford
and Bridgeport and New Haven.
We got to sit there and cry until we could not cry no more
asking what's the sense of this all.
I realized something sitting next to a father from Newtown
in Danbury where Vice President Biden came.
When I was sitting next to him, he was crying.
He cried like I cried.
His tears were wet like my tears.
I'll be darned if I let anger or all the publicity
of Newtown separate me from that father and his needs.
I realized that I am Newtown.
We are all Newtown.
We need a new town
where we could live safe and our children can go to school.
We are Newtown and we should let no one separate us.
Help me, say the word Newtown.
Newtown, our town!
I hope that I can get some urban issues addressed in here.
Already I think it was one, two, three, four people shot
in our neighborhood in less than two weeks or so.
In one neighborhood, that's crazy.
Poorest neighborhood and zip code
and neighborhood in the state.
Part of the rage of the inner city's
that you know, you know so much
about some of the young kids at Newtown and you know
very people know, you know,
anything about Shane outside of his community.
Nice to see, how you doing.
How you doing, good to see you again.
- Your son, he was murdered before Newtown.
- October, October last year.
- And now what were the circumstances?
It was like a drive by, he was just
in the wrong place at the wrong time?
- Yeah, somebody was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- I don't know about you guys,
but before the events here in Newtown
I don't think I had ever met a parent
or anyone else who lost a loved one from gun violence.
- It's the unfortunate reality of we've been asleep.
This has awakened us as you said,
You know at Hartford, you know we are all Newtown.
We are all, we're losing just too many of our children,
too many of loved ones and it's just enough.
You know we have stories in our urban centers
that are so important here that nobody's hearing them.
I heard them in passing before Newtown,
but did I really want to hear them, probably not.
I probably did not have that, that passion for that
and now I do.
I want the stories of mothers and fathers
who've lost loved ones to be told.
I want America to have to look at itself
and say you know what are we doing as a nation
within all of our communities
that we're allowing this to continue to happen.
- [Photographer] Get in a little tight, tight.
- [Pastor On Right] This is symbolic, what we're doing.
- Symbolic of hopefully a national movement.
- That never should be broken, yes?
- Absolutely, I agree.
- I agree, I agree.
- I need that, never be broken.
- Pastor Micheal McBride, Oakland California.
We are all Newtown.
- Pastor Albert Shaw, New Haven Connecticut.
We are all Newtown.
- Rabbi Menachem Creditor from Berkeley California.
We are all Newtown.
- On December 14, life as it happens
caused the entire world to look at itself
and realize that we can't ever go back home again.
Business in Washington can never be the same again.
The cries of those children and the countless children
that are yet to die, these lives are crying out
from the grave saying do right!
Do right by me while you still have time!
I can't run, my son was a cripple.
He couldn't run fast enough from the assassin's bullet,
but I've dedicated my life to run for him.
I'm running for him and every other child
that wants to in America free.
I'm asking you for your help.
Call your congressman, tell him this is the day
that we must change, thank you.
- The American people will not tolerate it
so why do we tolerate that same number of people
being gunned down in the streets of America.
- How are you?
- Good, God bless you.
- Glad you guys are here, glad you're here.
- I feel like it's gloomy man
because tears are being shed today man.
Some of those parents probably
couldn't get out of bed this morning man
because they remember my baby going to school on this day.
- You gonna be able to do this today?
- Yeah, I'm good.
- All right, you know I'm not too far away.
You know that.
- It's still advent, but I'm told there are
wise men from the north who come bearing gifts.
- When we thought that no one understood us,
our pain, we did not get the light
that was shined on this tragedy.
A voice, Newtown, came to Hartford to us,
to our ministry and said we're brothers.
And I knew that we were brothers ever since.
- Last year I didn't have the friendship
or the partnership with people
that was in the suburban community,
but you know out of your darkness came light.
- Well we do thank you for coming and being with us.
Again the message is that you should appreciate
every moment that you have with someone.
You should say I love you whenever you can.
There's a lot of good going on in this community
and people are still trying to live their lives.
You know, there've been people
who's hearts have been opened and minds have been opened
to a need to coalesce and to work together
and try and bring about some change.
- It's going, it's going.