Campaign Against Gun Violence
The Campaign Against Gun Violence is a subgroup of the FCB Social Justice Committee. It strives to bring awareness of the issue of Gun Violence to the whole FCB community and to support the work of our umbrella oganization:
As of Spring 2020, the Coalition is a collaborative organization of over 90 member institutions, including FCB. It has proven itself to be highly effective at advocating for strong gun violence prevention laws in Massachusetts. Major law upgrades were made in 2014 and 2018.
The Coalition’s priority bill for the MA 2019/20 legislative session is the “Crime Gun Trace Data Reporting and Analysis.” If passed, this law will require a detailed analysis of MA crime gun trace data to better understand the origins of crime guns— so we can stop them! We also are trying to address the root causes of urban gun violence. Therefore, additional priorities include advocating for legislative funding of youth jobs, trauma response, and direct intervention with court involved and violence involved youth.
For the first 6.5 yers of its existence, this organization was almost completely a group of volunteers, but as its size and scope grew, it was able to hire an executive director and a community organizer. Most of the donations made to the Coalition go toward supporting this relatively new professional staff.
To read more about the Coalition, see its website at www.mapreventgunviolence.org.
To donate to the Coalition, use the DONATE link on the coalition site or go directly to https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mapreventgunviolence.
CAGV History at First Church in Boston
In the wake of the Newtown shootings in December of 2012, the Social Justice Community held a meeting to discuss how it might help address problems of gun violence. As a result of that meeting, the Campaign Against Gun Violence (CAGV) was formed in January 2013. This new group was immediately involved in bringing educational information concerning gun violence to the congregation through written materials and high profile speakers. Members of First Church in Boston voted to join the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which soon included 35 additional organizations. Jesse Jaeger of UU Mass Action approved that organization’s signing on as a Coalition member as well; Ellie Miller agreed to represent UUMA as well as FCB at Coalition meetings.
In March of 2013, CAGV featured John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence as speaker and supplemented his talk with the film “Living for 32.” The event was highly successful in terms of attendance (well over 100) and in engaging the attention of all. September 15 was the date of our first program of the 2013-14 church year: “Reducing Gun Violence: What can our legislatures do? What can we do?” Speakers included State Representative David Linsky and Angus McQuilken of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
December 14, 2013 was the first anniversary of the Newtown tragedy. The MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence sponsored an afternoon of commemorative events held at FCB. Speakers included Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh, Congressman John Tierney, State Representatives David Linsky, Hank Naughton, and Tom Conroy, Cindy Diggs, John Rosenthal, Molly Malloy, Kim Odom, Tina Chery, and John Hill, all noted leaders in the movement to prevent gun violence. A candlelight service of remembrance followed.
On December 11, 2014 we held a Candlelight Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence, We are All Touched by Gun Violence, as part of a National Vigil. Featured speakers were Rev. Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, Bishop Alan Gates of the Episcopal Diocese, Rabbi Jill Perlman of Lexington’s Temple Isaiah, members of B-PEACE for Jorge and Rev. Kendrick of FCB. Attendance was over 200.
Our 2015 Vigil , #EndGunViolence, one of 500 events held nationally and coordinated by the Newtown Foundation, took place December 9, 2015. Speakers included Prof. Jack McDevitt, of Northeastern U., Rabbi Jill Perlman, Boston Police Superintendent Randall Halstead, members of B-PEACE, Rev. Kendrick and Rev. Tim House of FCB. Additional highlights were the candlelighting for each of the 2015 Boston gun homicide victims, candlelighting for each of the states, and music by Leo Eguchi (cello) and Paul Cienniwa (piano). Attendance was about 125. Our yearly vigils have been co-sponsored by the MA Coalition to Prevent Violence.
The 2016 Vigil offered guest speakers AG Maura Healey, John Rosenthal – founder of Stop Handgun Violence, Dan Mulhern – Director of Public Safety in Boston, and Associate Imam Abdul-Malik Merchant of the Islamic Center of Boston. Original music was provided by Dr. Larry Bell and soprano Erin Anderson.
In December 2017, we were honored to present AG Maura Healey, author and survivor Greg Gibson, and Bishop Alan Gates, with music by Dr. Robert August and Flautist Dolores August.
2018’s featured speakers were Boston Police Deputy Superintendent Marcus Eddings, State Rep. Marjorie Decker, Peace Institute President Tina Chery, with Cantor Roy Einhorn, Rev. Stephen Kendrick, and music by Larry Bell.
On December 11, 2019 our featured speakers were:
- Suffolk County Special Sheriff, Yolanda Smith,
- Massachussetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence Executive, Ruth Zakarin, and
- March For Our Lives Activist, David Hogg.
Click or right-click on the names above to play or download a recording of their comments.
Click here to view and print this year’s poster.
Ellie or Doug Millercagv@firstchurchboston.org