A community forum is scheduled for Wednesday to address gun violence from perspectives of religion, law enforcement, education and politics.
The forum — Our Community Reflects On Gun Violence — is co-sponsored by Manchester Community College and St. Bridget New Wineskins Community, a group based in the local Catholic church.
The free forum is slated for 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the college's SBM Charitable Foundation Building. Speakers will answer questions from the audience, submitted in writing, after their presentations.ndation Auditorium
Scheduled speakers are Interim Superintendent Richard Kisiel, Police Chief Marc Montminy, Sister Linda Pepe of the Collaborative Center For Justice in Hartford and state Rep. Jason Rojas, a Democrat whose district covers parts of Manchester and East Hartford.
"The Newtown Sandy Hook massacre has so vividly portrayed the epidemic of gun violence in our communities," said a statement from the New Wineskins group. "In sponsoring this forum, we will allow the audience the opportunity to hear different responses from community leaders along with their visions of how to address the crisis."
"As an elementary school teacher, I'm particularly interested in how our schools can protect our students from guns," Martha DiGiovanni, a member of the New Wineskins Community, said in the statement. "Sandy Hook struck me deeply and I don't want to see the same thing happen here."
The group, which is focused on peace and nonviolent resolutions, had been gathering for more than a year when members were jolted by the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, New Wineskin member Tom Breen said.
"Putting together this forum is part of our response, one we hope can help heal our society and form a consensus for future action," Breen said.
Manchester, as Breen noted, has its own experiences with gun violence, most notably the Hartford Distributors shootings on Aug. 3, 2010, when company truck driver Omar Thornton shot and killed eight of his co-workers before killing himself as police closed in.
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