Annapolis mayor planning press freedom festival to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims

Danielle Ohl
Contact Reporterdohl@capgaznews.com

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley plans to host a fundraiser and music festival for press freedom following the attack at the Capital Gazette office Thursday.

“We want [the attack] to be something people don’t forget,” Buckley said Monday during a visit to the temporary Capital Gazette newsroom.

Buckley said the city is in the early stages of planning an event on Bladen Street in front of Maryland State House. The event, to be scheduled for the next few weeks, would involve musical acts and honor the legacy of five Capital Gazette staff members who died in the attack.

Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters were killed when a gunman shot his way into the Capital Gazette newsroom Thursday. Police charged Jarrod Ramos, 38, of Laurel, with five counts of first-degree murder.

Buckley, an arts advocate, endeared voters during his mayoral run by organizing campaign events that felt more like parties than fundraisers. He is known for his community organizing on the West Street corridor, where he co-owns several restaurants.

In this past budget cycle, Buckley secured an arts and entertainment advocacy position in his office, now held by Max Huber, who will assist in organizing the festival.

In the days after the Capital Gazette attack, musicians have paid tribute to the victims.

Singer-songwriter James Taylor, a favorite of Hiaasen’s, through a representative said he was moved reading about Hiaasen’s appreciation for his music and offered his condolences.

Rock band U2’s frontman Bono, before playing the “One” at a show in Newark, N.J., dedicated the song to the Capital Gazette.

“To people who, at their best, give us the very foundation of our democracy,” he said of journalists. “They give us the facts, of which to form our opinions. They give us truths to guide our understanding, and we need them.”

Buckley said the country needs “Bono sort of leadership.”

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