December 18, 2012
Over the last few days I've been contacted by hundreds of residents, business owners, family, friends and colleagues. Many are confused and dismayed and have expressed their concerns, aggravations and fears over the senseless arid selfish tragedy that befell the Newtown community last Friday. All have shared their sadness and support for the victims and their families and have asked "why?"
I have attempted to bring comfort to all that have approached or contact me, in as much as I can, and write inform you of what we as a City can and are doing to grapple with the damage that has been done. First, I must express my gratitude for your deep and heartfelt concerns for the victims and their families. Having compassion and empathy for your fellow man is what being human is all about and as Mayor I am proud of how the people of this great City have responded.
We are still in mourning. We have suffered a cataclysm of unspeakable depth. No words or action can ever take away the pain of losing a loved one; especially in such a gruesome manner. Therefore, this is really a time to express love for our children. Remind them that we love them more than anything in this world and that we are here for them and will protect them. Remind them that they remain the center of our universe.
I didn't realize until recently that I had the honor and privilege of shaking one of the victim's hands. Ana Márquez-Greene, daughter of Nelba Amaro Márquez-Greene and local jazz musician, Jimmy Greene. I met Ana at the Bushnell Theatre in September. She and her brother accompanied their father, to whom we were presenting an IQUILT Innovation Award. She was the cutest, sweetest little angel, who during our brief conversation expressed how much she liked school and music.
On Friday, December 21st, at 9:30am all City of Hartford employees, along with many others around the state, will share in a moment of silence in honor of the innocent lives that were lost. For a few minutes, meetings will be suspended, emails will stop, phones will sit idle and silent so we can take a moment to come together to express not just our sorrow but our faith and hope in a better future.
Although elected officials cannot force the healing process, I have traveled to Newtown, I have attended vigils, visited schools, spoken to media and met with concerned and frightened residents from across Connecticut. Our job as public servants is to influence and create policy that can effectuate lasting and meaningful change. We may never totally prevent these incidents from happening in the future, but we can create an environment where they are less likely to occur.
Since becoming Mayor, I have made my position against gun-violence crystal clear. I reestablished the Shooting Task Force, now a nation-wide model to reduce violent crime; strengthened the gun buy-back program in partnership with our three hospitals; written letters to Congress; and have been outspoken about my emotional investment in preventing gun violence. I lost my father to gun violence at 1 year old and never had an opportunity to know him. I've lost dear friends to gun-violence. It's not something you forget — or that I would ever wish on anyone.
My sincere hope is that time does not diminish this critical discussion. There are decisions we can—and must—make now. The dialogue has gone on too long. As Mayor of this incredible Capital City, I can assure that I will work every dav to keep our City safe, To work with our Congressional delegation, work with other Mayors, and stakeholders to take the immediate action necessary.
In the meantime, please remember to support each other during what I know will be a long journey to recovery. I have faith that the human spirit is strong and will overcome this in time. Let's work together to create a community that is worthy of the lives that were lost.
Pedro E. Segarra
Resources & Giving
Newtown Tragedy – Parent, Teacher and Community Resources