LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The bells of the oldest black church in Los Angeles rang out in memory of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims at 6:30 a.m. today, the time when the massacre began exactly a week ago.
The bells of the First AME Church of Los Angeles in the Adams district tolled 26 times, once for each victim, then rang out a verse of the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee” in a ceremony coinciding with one in Connecticut.
Another ceremony was held at First AME at 9:30 a.m. as part of a statewide moment of reflection in memory of the shooting victims, said church spokesman Michael Ellison-Lewis.
“First AME Church of Los Angeles bells have been rung in many other watershed moments in our church’s over 140-year history,” Pastor J. Edgar Boyd said. “Friday we join others in remembering those who lost their lives tragically and join with the entire community to continue to work toward peace.”
Gov. Jerry Brown called for Californians to observe a moment of silence in memory for the shooting victims at 9:30 a.m., honoring a request Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made of all his fellow governors.
“Let us all come together collectively to mourn the loss of far too many promising lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Malloy said.
“Though we will never know the full measure of sorrow experienced by these families, we can let them know that we stand with them during this difficult time.”
The Community Rights Campaign plans a candlelight vigil and rally today to remember all victims of violence and to oppose proposals by the LAPD to place police in elementary and middle schools and by Senator Barbara Boxer to send the National Guard onto campuses.
The group, which has described law enforcement as part of “a racist re-enslavement complex,” will hold its event at 5 p.m. at the northeast corner of Western Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.
In contrast to the call for police to stay off campuses, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre today called for armed guards in every school.