City Council asked us to draft a letter in response to the latest gun violence tragedy to send to our legislative representatives at both the State and National level.
Council members were careful not to pick sides on what the solution should be, but they wanted to add their voices to the dialogue and create a greater sense of urgency to this difficult issue.
Here’s the letter:
March 13, 2018
Dear State/Federal Representative,
As elected community leaders, we understand the pressure of unreasonable expectations, irreconcilable public opinion, and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that divide our communities at every turn. Like yours, our job has never been harder.
We live in our communities and we live with the consequences of our decisions every day. We share neighborhoods and grocery stores with the people that call Kent home, who look to us to fulfill a promise to make their lives better.
In an instant on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida we were tragically reminded of the frailty of the most vulnerable among us. All our aspirations and pledges to make life better in our communities means nothing when we collectively fail those who need us the most.
We could not be there to protect them but as our nation mourns and searches for answers to the latest act of senseless gun violence we must not fail them again – for as the nation argues, children are dying.
That’s an unimaginable loss and no matter how tough it may be to bring about change, nothing compares to the hardship of losing a child to an assault weapon — just ask the families, friends, and teachers in Parkland, Sandy Hook, Red Lake, Columbine and Chardon.
This moment of grief must become a collective moment of clarity when we rally around our children and draw a line in the sand to say “enough, not one more.” Together we can be that line and it’s time to act like it – to stand tall and lock arms around our children.
We may not have the answers but the greatest failures of leadership occur when decisions are deferred because they are deemed too daunting and are mired in political posturing. Whatever the solutions may prove to be, we’re ready to do our part.
We are committed to leading a cultural change that exposes gun violence against children for what it is – an unacceptable act of terror – but we can’t do it alone. We can only be as impactful as you are, so let our courage inspire your courage, our leadership your leadership.
We are writing to appeal for your support and commitment to be a part of the change, to challenge you to live up to your leadership aspirations, and to help make sure the next generation has a chance to live up to theirs.
Within each child awaits the future of our communities, of our state, our nation. Please join us in recognizing the enormity of that responsibility and be an agent for change with us.
Jerry T. Fiala, Mayor & President of Council Garret Ferrara, Council Member, Ward 1
Michael DeLeone, Council Member at Large Jack Amrhein, Council Member, Ward 2
Gwen Rosenberg, Council Member at Large Robin Turner, Council Member, Ward 3
Roger Sidoti, Council Member at Large John M. Kuhar, Council Member, Ward 4
Heidi L. Shaffer, Council Member, Ward 5 Tracy Wallach, Council Member, Ward 6