Rev. Heidi’s remarks at the Gun Violence Vigil

Rev. Heidi was grateful to join together today with Granite State Progress and Mom’s Demand Action to offer an opening word at a vigil for common sense gun legislation, and against gun violence in Concord today. Here are her remarks:

Thank you for having me here this morning.

My name is the Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath. I serve as the Executive Director of the NH Council of Churches.

I was 16 years old when I experienced my first school shooting.

Like many people my age I finished high school in the shadow of the Columbine High School shootings. Our last few years of high school were profoundly shaped by them. We lived in the era of bomb threats, conversations about trench coats, and bullying, but rarely a conversation about the heart of the matter: gun violence.

I could not have imagined then that we’d be here at Concord High School on a Saturday morning. This generation of high schoolers raised and shaped in the world of Parkland, Midland, El Paso, Odessa, Dayton, and on, and on, and on.

I am also the survivor of gun violence in my own family. We are the remnants, the ones who survive, the often unspoken legacy. It is our stories that are rarely told in punditry and talking points.

If we were to hold a minute of silence for every victim of a school shooting since Columbine High School? We would be silent for roughly the equivalent of a 6-7 hour day. Breathe in that magnitude. Refuse to let those names and faces become just another statistic.

In a moment I’m going to invite us to hold a much briefer moment of silence to honor all who have lost their lives at the hands of a gun. But before we do that, I want to invite you to look around. We can end this fight together. Collectively we can rise up, and not allow another generation to be defined by this violence. We can help fewer families tell stories like mine. The fact we are here this morning, and we continue to fight together gives me deep hope. You give me hope. Together, we can change this story.

And now I’ll invite us to hold a couple of moments of silence in honor of all who have lost their lives by gun violence, and all the survivors who remain.

My faith tradition invites us to have life, and to have it with abundance. May we do the sacred work of ensuring abundant life for generations to come by continuing the fight to end gun violence.

Thank you. Let’s get to work.