Independent Lens


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.

AIRED: April 03, 2017 | 0:09:12

- [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!

(crowd applauding)

- Good morning Hartford.

Good morning.

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.

(crowd applauding)

(somber music)

- 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.

(crowd applauding)

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, 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.

Hiya doing.

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.

- Yeah.

- That never should be broken, yes?

- Absolutely, I agree.

- Promise?

- 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.

(crowd applauding)


- 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.

(gentle music)

- How are you?

- Good, God bless you.

- Glad you guys are here, glad you're here.

(somber music)

- 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.

(crowd laughing)

- 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.

(gentle music)

- 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.


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