Singing Out, Loud And Strong
In past weeks, areas of town have experienced thousands of blackbirds gathered in treetops and cornfields, creating a kind of aviary town hall that meets, greets, and then moves on to perch and preach their message in a new territory. Their raucous voices cannot be ignored as they expound on birdly concerns that have caused them to flock together. It seems they innately understand the power of voices raised together.
Beneath this recent racket of bird song, we are fortunate to hear other voices raised - people in town who speak up when they see a need for change.
The Newtown Action Alliance has worked since the 12/14 tragedy to educate others and urge lawmakers to support laws that will decrease gun violence. A more recent group, Newtown Forward, works to raise awareness about issues that affect us locally and globally. Community forums are arenas of conversation.
Hundreds of residents found their ways to various cities in support of the Women's March on Washington in January, followed by those who wanted to make national leaders aware of their stance on the Right To Life.
Recently, Sandy Hook attorney Monte Frank wrote a resolution, accepted by the American Bar Association, strengthening its position to defend human rights and social justice.
Acting on behalf of the school community, the Board of Education approved having Chairman Keith Alexander sign a letter to President Donald Trump, asking the president to denounce those who deny the 12/14 tragedy. That letter was mailed February 22.
Last week, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, and school board members Michelle Ku and Debbie Leidlein submitted testimony to the state Appropriations Committee of the devastation to our local school budget, should the governor's proposed state budget pass. Within that budget are cuts that would cost our town nearly $7 million; and that money would most likely gouge a school budget currently requesting a less than a two percent increase this year. Taxpayers could bear the burden of this untimely demand from the state.
People can natter on social media, but it is the population that goes a step further to voice concerns that makes a difference. Those who pick up the phone and talk to our local and state representatives, attend town hall meetings to judge for themselves the social and political climate, who put pen to paper or pound out an e-mail to those in charge of running our towns, state, and country and put their thoughts in the public eye- those are the people who believe that freedom of speech is not just a phrase in an antique document.
Nature knows when loud voices are more valuable than silence.
Whether we agree with one group or another, or not, change happens when people make their concerns heard; it happens when the truth is spoken; it happens when people step outside their comfort zones.
It happens all over the world, and it is happening in Newtown. It is work in progress to ensure that we are a community and a nation of which we can be proud.