Burlington’s Interfaith Clergy Association has put out a message to the community in response to two recent mass shootings, one in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and the other at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. In the letter the local religious leaders express sorrow and grief over the violence and put out a call for stricter legislation on firearms.
Read the full letter:
In the wake of the white supremacist massacre in Buffalo, New York, on May 14, and the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, we write to express our horror, grief, and rage. We grieve for the ten people killed while grocery shopping in a Black community in Buffalo, and we weep for the loss of nineteen children and two of their teachers, who were looking forward to celebrating the end of the school year on Thursday. We also want to share our deepest condolences and loving care towards the injured and all who are grieving their murdered loved ones. As communities of faith and conscience, we join together in prayer for you and all those who have been most directly affected. But we recognize that prayers are not enough. Our religious traditions demand that we take action.
We call for stricter gun legislation in the United States to aid in the prevention of rampant gun violence in our country, which results in thousands of deaths and injuries every year, including domestic violence and suicide. While incidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries make the headline news, mass shootings occur with such alarming regularity that many of them don’t even make national news. In the 10 days between Buffalo and Uvalde, at least 15 mass shootings occurred in other cities and towns across this country.* This is not a mental health crisis; it is a gun violence crisis. Violent, extremist rhetoric in the media and online has sown home-grown terrorists who have easy access to weapons designed to inflict maximum damage in seconds.
We also recommit ourselves to the work of addressing racism in our communities, homes, and houses of worship, and to call out the lies and twisted messages that run rampant on social media. We condemn the dramatic rise in racist, antisemitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic ideas in the U.S. that engender hate and division. None of these have a place in the free and democratic society we cherish, nor in the communities of faith we serve.
On this Memorial Day weekend, as we remember and honor the lives of those who have died in service to this country, let us honor the memories of those who have died of gun violence by taking steps toward meaningful action and reform.
May you find peace, strength, and courage, in the days ahead.
In prayerful solidarity,
The following members of Burlington’s Interfaith Clergy Association, Burlington, MA:
Rabbi Susan Abramson, Temple Shalom Emet
The Reverend Daniel Bell, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Pastor Chais DiMaggio
Reverend Trina Portillo, The Presbyterian Church in Burlington
Shakeel Rahman, Islamic Center of Burlington