Saying that he wants the Diocese of Long Island to claim “common ground against gun violence,” Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano has called upon Episcopalians to march from the Cathedral Church of the Incarnation in Garden City to Union Baptist Church in Hempstead for the funeral of 12 year old Dejah Joyner. Joyer was killed in her living room when she was hit by a stray bullet fired from the street.
The tragic shooting of Dejah Joyner this past week in Hempstead has affected me, my family, and many members of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in a very personal way: Dejah’s father, Dameon, is well known to us as the manager of Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness Center in Garden City. We send Dameon our deepest sympathy, our support, and our prayers during this difficult time.
As we continue to reach out to Dameon and his family in their tremendous grief, we also realize that we need to take an active stand against gun violence. As member of Bishops Against Gun Violence, I am one of 60 Episcopal Bishops who have made a stand and a pledge against gun violence in our country by exploring and advocating for policies and legislation that save lives. We cannot stand silent as gun violence continues to destroy families and communities.
The New York Time reports of another prayer vigil that occurred in the community soon after the shooting:
A village of about 50,000 people, Hempstead does not have the steady volume of violent crime that plagues many big cities. But with at least six murders reported this year, deadly crime is not unfamiliar to the small Nassau County community.
Even so, the killing of the 12-year-old girl, an unintended target hit inside her own home, has seized the village. During the vigil on Sunday, local officials and pastors voiced long-simmering frustrations with gun violence and gangs, and broader problems like a deficit of opportunity and optimism.
“They have to know there is somebody that cares,” the Rev. Joe Brown, the pastor of Faith Baptist Church, told the crowd. “We are here to show that we care!”
“Amen!” the crowd replied.