Gun violence touches all ethnicities and socioeconomic group. The push for more sensible gun safety legislation has helped to unify communities that would appear to have little in common. On Saturday, March 8, at 8 am, a group of cyclists known as Team 26 will embark on a 400-mile journey — the 2nd Annual Sandy Hook Ride On Washington (SHROW) — departing from Edmond Town Hall to show how diverse communities across the nation have one common goal: make streets safer and put an end to the gun-violence epidemic.
Originally scheduled to take place at Reed Intermediate School, the kick-off rally has been moved to the front steps and courtyard at 45 Main Street.
The four-day “rolling rally” will include events in Ridgefield and Greenwich, Harlem, N.Y., Doylestown, Penn., Baltimore and College Park, Md., and Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., before ending at the steps of the US Capitol Building.
Four Newtown residents — Monte Frank, Bill Muzzio, Chris Peck and Armand Daccache — are members of the team that includes a former Junior World Championships National Team member, US National Team member, Canadian National Team member, Maccabiah World Games Silver Medalist, State and Regional Champions, and Omar Samaha, whose sister Reema was killed in the Virginia Tech shootings.
Specifically, the riders support common sense measures to help curb gun violence:
*Requiring all gun buyers pass criminal background checks.
*Instituting a ban of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
*Making gun trafficking a federal crime, including real penalties for “straw buyers”
*Strengthening gun ownership restrictions for people with severe mental illness.
“Last year, our 400-mile journey quickly showed us that Americans in small towns and big towns, rural and urban, all have been impacted by gun violence and want change to occur,” said SHROW Team Leader Monte Frank.
“The tragedy at Sandy Hook spurred us to action but we ride for all victims of gun violence,” he said. “We ride to remember them, and to push for stronger gun violence prevention laws to reduce the epidemic of gun violence that plagues our nation, whether it is in a one-stoplight town or our nation’s most populous city.”
The Edmond Town Hall kickoff Saturday morning will feature US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), US Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Reverend Matthew S. Crebbin, pastor of Newtown Congregational Church; Pastor Sam Saylor, a Hartford clergy member who lost his son to gun violence; Team 26 Founder Monte Frank; Sarah Clements, representing Junior Newtown Action Alliance; and Mark Barden, father of 12/14 victim Daniel Barden and a representative of Sandy Hook Promise.
There will also be a special Ben’s Bells Newtown presentation. US Representative Jim Himes (CT-4) will be riding with the team from Newtown to Greenwich.
From Newtown, the group will head to Ridgefield for a 10:30 am stop at Ridgefield Community Center, 316 Main Street. That event will feature Rep Himes, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, and Mr Frank.
A 12:30 pm stop at Greenwich Town Hall, 101 Field Point Road, will feature Jonathan Perloe, Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence; Rep Himes; Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen; Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei; Greenwich Selectmen Drew Marzullo and David Theis; Mr Frank; Dawn Spearman, founder, You are Not Alone of Bridgeport; Reverend Maxwell Grant, senior minister, Second Congregational Church of Greenwich; Ron Pinciaro, executive director, Connecticut Against Gun Violence; and Rabbi Andrew R. Sklarz, MSW, of Greenwich Reform Synagogue.
When Team 26 arrives in Morristown, Penn., on Sunday, March 9, the riders will be greeted by Maura Sherlach Schwartz, the daughter Mary Sherlach, the Sandy Hook School psychologist killed on 12/14.
Moms Demand Action-New Jersey is playing a role in organizing the Morristown rally, according to MorristownGreen.com.