Civil Rights Leaders Join President Obama in Offering Prayers, Hopes to Newtown, Conn.

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    In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., sympathy and well wishes to the parents and families of those who lost their lives have been sent from around the world. The shooting was so troubling that it even brought President Barack Obama to tears while delivering a speech about the events to a stunned nation.

    The president also saw fit to preempt regular Sunday programming last night on all major networks to address the country about the shooting.

    In addition to the president’s remarks, civil rights leaders in Atlanta and from around the nation have weighed in with their messages of hope, strength, empathy and empowerment to those lost in Newtown, Conn., and their grieving families.

    President Obama addressed the nation first, saying:

    “This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

    “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

    “The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

    “So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.”

    Rep. John Lewis, civil rights icon and member of the US House of Representatives from Georgia’s 5th District:

    “I am incredibly grieved by this horrible tragedy. As one who has experienced violence and even terrorism in my life, I deeply regret that young innocent children were killed and that their families and the people of Newtown, Connecticut must face this violence in their communities. My heart weeps at the senselessness of this atrocity.

    “This time of year is special for the children of this nation. They are looking forward to the magic and wonder of the holidays, but today they are suffering through a very sad and dark hour in American history. The psyche of many children in Connecticut and throughout this country will be scarred for decades to come.

    “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the entire Newtown community in this very difficult hour. We as a nation and as a people must take a stand against the tragic problem of mass shooting in American schools. There’s not any room in American society for these unspeakable acts of violence.”

    Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, had this to say:

    “Our prayers are with those devastated by this horrific shooting and we appeal for people to unite in prayer to end the bloodshed across the country. I hope that our nation’s leaders from all backgrounds and walks of life, can come together in the weeks ahead to forge a path where these terrible, senseless gun violent tragedies are eliminated from our society” said Sharpton.

    NAN National Executive Director Tamika D. Mallory, who also sits on the New York City anti-violence task force, said, “Incomprehensible gun violence has once again claimed the lives of our nation’s most precious treasure, our children. My heart and prayers go out to the families in Newton, Connecticut at this most difficult and painful time.”

    The NAACP released statements from three organization representatives, including President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, Chairman Roslyn M. Brock and Connecticut State Conference President Scot X. Esdaile.

    “Our hearts are with the families of Newtown today,” said Esdaile. “The NAACP will do everything in its power to help the community in its time of need. The Greater Danbury NAACP has been working to make sure that everyone in the area is safe, and the state conference leadership is offering our resources as well.”

    “This type of event reminds us how important family is and how precious our children are,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “The healing process must begin now as we join communities and families together in Connecticut and across the nation.”

    “Today’s horrific crime claimed so many lives and so many futures,” stated Jealous. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and the entire community of Newtown. We will continue to support the community as it recovers from this tragedy.”

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