The Rev. Al Sharpton traveled to Connecticut to participate in a prayer vigil and service for the victims and survivors of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.
Sharpton, who heads the National Action Network and hosts a show on MSNBC, called for measures to restrict the access of guns in the United States.
“These guns must be challenged by those who respect human life,” Sharpton said, speaking to an enthusiastic audience at the Zion Baptist Church in nearby Waterbury.
“We must send a united message to this country to stop making easy access of high powered weapons and stop cutting mental illness programs,” Sharpton said.
The presence of Sharpton indicates how the response to the shooting has resonated with a broad spectrum of American leadership. Sharpton’s mainstay has been in events centered in Black and Latino communities.
But Sharpton’s pronouncements of unity were echoed by others at the service.
“We come here in solidarity with our brother and sister up the street to let you know your pain is our pain and your hurt is our hurt,” said Rev. Boise Kimber, the president of the State Missionary Baptist Convention in Connecticut and pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church in New Haven.
The service drew a diverse audience, including leaders of Jewish and Islamic congregations.
The school shooting has shocked the nation. The killer, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, left 20 students and six adults dead. He also killed his mother earlier in the day, police said.
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(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)