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Annual Sandy Hook remembrance ceremony held in Solana Beach

SOLANA BEACH — Of the 1,316 school shootings that have occurred in the United States since 1970, 18% occurred after the mass shooting that took place in December 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

This year, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito (UUFSD), located in Solana Beach, hosted its seventh annual remembrance ceremony on Dec. 8 in honor of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

This is one of over 50 other Unitarian Universalist Fellowships that participate in this event of remembering the victims from the 2012 elementary school.

The people behind the Solana Beach vigil wanted it to be an event of hope with a message that a single individual can #EndGunViolence.

Stephan Bartram, the acting gun violence prevention coordinator for the UUFSD, has planned the Sandy Hook Vigil in Solana Beach for the last six years. Bartram got involved in gun violence prevention after losing his nephew to gun violence.

“There is a sense that vigils by themselves tend to be reflective of memories … they bring voices to the sadness,” Bartram said. “My intent is to be more locally generated and locally focused. (This year), we want to move from a position of remembering sadness to a position of remembering ‘what have we done.’ We want to acknowledge the grassroots efforts that have brought forth change.”

Nikki Faddick, a mother of three boys, a Carlsbad resident, and leader of North County MOMS, was one of the many speakers at the vigil held on Dec. 8. at UUFSD. Faddick said she has always had strong convictions when it came to gun violence in the United States; however, after the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas, she joined the local San Diego movement.

“That was the moment I finally said enough, I am going to give my time to this,” Faddick stated.

Faddick’s overall goal is to raise awareness by reflecting on the statistics that show 100 lives are claimed by gun violence each day. She hopes this will compel people to take action.

“The call to action, to urge folks to contact their lawmakers, to get involved with us, the need for safe storage of firearms … I think the real takeaway is that anyone can get involved,” Faddick said.

Additionally, RoseAnn Sharp, Founder of NeverAgainCA, whose mission is to stop the ability to sell firearms and ammunition at gun shows hosted on state fairgrounds in California, also spoke at the remembrance.

“I am a mother, grandmother, wife and believe we have a right to life,” Sharp said. “When I asked our 11- year-old grandson this year at the start of the school what were his interests, he responded, ‘trains, computers and trying to stay alive.’ Gun violence has brought ‘war’ to their lives every day.”

Sharp said she feels that it is important to participate in events such as the Sandy Hook Vigil because it encourages people to take action.

“We now know the signs of gun violence, and each person needs to act when they see these signs,” Sharp said.