HAVERHILL — Close to 100 people gathered on the front steps of City Hall last night to share their prayers for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and to call on the nation’s political leaders to take steps to keep the tragedy from happening again.
“May our politicians in Washington and also mental health professionals come together and see what needs to be fixed in our world, because our world is in great need of being repaired,” Rabbi Ira Korinow of Temple Emanu-El in Haverhill said.
“May we take those steps to encourage those who have the power to make changes in our world and changes in our culture. May we do so together as individuals and as a community,” he said.
Rabbi Korinow was one of three local members of the local religious community who participated in the prayer vigil. The Rev. John Delaney, pastor of Sacred Hearts Parish in Bradford, and the Rev. Frank Clarkson of the Unitarian Universalist Church joined him. Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini, Haverhill School Superintendent James Scully and other city leaders also turned out to support the event.
“Hopefully vigils, like the one we’re holding tonight, are reported around the country and the message is clear to Congress to act on this now and protect the children,” Haverhill School Committee member Joseph Bevilaqua said in an interview before the event.
“One thing we can all agree upon is that it’s time to stop this senseless violence against children. This is the most important issue in the country right now,” said Bevilaqua, who is also president of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“While they’re debating the fiscal cliff in Congress, this is something that should pass easily. I am pleased the president is trying to get something done. Who would disagree that you have to protect the children of this country. One thing parents need to know when they bring their kids to school is that they are going to be safe,” he said.