A coalition of grassroots community groups is planning the “Circle of Light Walking Vigil” to commemorate Gun Violence Awareness Month.
The vigil, set for Sunday, June 2, at 7 p.m., is in response to the recent uptick in terrorism in houses of worship around the world, including Charleston, New Zealand, Pittsburgh, and Poway, California.
Rabbi Jennifer Schlosberg of the Glen Rock Jewish Center said, “We read, in the book of Leviticus (19:16), ‘Do not stand idly by as your neighbor’s blood is shed.’ It is a sad reality that there is a need to organize a vigil for this reason, but co-sponsoring as houses of worship around issues of gun violence sends the message that gun safety is a religious and moral issue that transcends politics.”
The vigil is a collaborative effort among many community groups and a continuation of earlier vigils hosted by the religious communities of Glen Rock, including the Glen Rock Jewish Center, which held a community-wide vigil after the attack in Pittsburgh in October. Other groups include Glen Rock After the March, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action.
According to Rev. Mark R. Collins, president of the Religious Communities of Glen Rock, “We are so grateful for allies who recognize the particular pain people of faith feel when the sanctity of houses of worship is shattered by gun violence. As we mourn those who have died by gun violence while at prayer, we are compelled to join in the call for common sense gun policies and practices that will make our congregations — and our communities — safer.”
After listening to speakers who include New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and representatives from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, the vigil will begin at the Glen Rock Gurudwara parking lot, 541 Prospect St. The group will walk down Rock Road to Harristown Road, and back to the Gurudwara for a candlelight ceremony led by local religious leaders. Along the way, the vigil will pass many houses of worship, creating a “circle of light” in its path.
To help participants be pro-active in their advocacy efforts, representatives from Moms Demand Action will provide information on actions everyone can take to prevent senseless gun violence. They also will distribute orange ribbon pins; vigil participants are encouraged to wear orange.
Registration is encouraged at walkingvigil.eventbrite.com. All are welcome.