GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Dozens of lit candles shone through the dark outside the Union Baptist Church in Greenburgh. It was a prayer vigil where religion didn't matter, because everyone had the same question on their minds — why?
A candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the Newtown school shooting brought together Greenburgh school leaders, citizens and a state representative on Wednesday, as the group lit candles, joined in a Hebrew prayer and sang "Amazing Grace." Sonja Brown, Westchester RISE director and Greenburgh Central 7 School Board member, put together the event when she realized that no one should be able to go through Friday's tragedy alone.
"I know I am not the only person to question this act and I know I cannot bear this act alone," Brown said.
The crowd huddled in the cold with their candles as they also heard from Greenburgh Central 7 Superintendent Ron Ross, Solomon Schechter teacher Miriam Weidberg and State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers).
While many have argued that gun control is not the answer to stopping shootings like Newtown's, Stewart-Cousins said now is the time to make sure Friday's massacre never happens again.
"There are so many 'whys.' We have to do better," Stewart-Cousins said. "If we can't talk about gun control now, then something else will happen and something else will be on the agenda. This is the time. No more. We're better than that."
Ross said he came to the event not just to remember the victims, but to also recognize why the town is remembering the victims.
"Why do we allow it to continue to happen? When you take God out of the schools, this is the result," Ross said. "These little children who were killed — maybe that will make people stand up to politicians, to leaders."
White Plains resident Hazel Cannon said when she heard about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, she immediately thought of her 5-year-old grandson.
"It could have been him," Cannon said, adding that she came to share the pain of the parents who lost their children at the school. "How do these parents face another day? How do they move on? Those innocent kids should not have gone like that."