Friday, September 20, 2019

Puerto Ricans Mourn Two of Their Own in Sandy Hook Shooting


As people around the world continue to react to the senseless Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., many reactions showcase grief and outrage, but also something not many feel at a time like this—approval.

In Puerto Rico, Gov. Luis Fortuño declared four days of mourning. The mayor of the municipality of Maunabo, Jorge Marquez, lost his six-year-old great-niece during the Sandy Hook shooting. Ana Grace Marquez-Greene was his sister’s granddaughter, and she had recently started to attend Sandy Hook Elementary School. Marquez-Greene’s brother, who attends the school, was not hurt in the shooting.

Puerto Rican mayor reacts to Sandy Hook shooting

The mayor spoke to VOXXI from Puerto Rico early Monday morning, and said that the family has been severely affected by Friday’s event.

“The situation has not been easy,” Marquez said. “But the parents are people with a lot of faith.” This may help them, the mayor said, to accept God’s will.

Marquez said that he was grateful for the support the entire family has been getting from the community.

“The amount of phone calls I have received…The support from the people has been amazing,” he told VOXXI. He added that perhaps this tragedy will be a wake-up call to take action and address the problem of violence and gun control.

The mayor has spoken to his sister but not to his niece, Ana Grace Marquez-Greene’s mother. Marquez is set to fly to Connecticut with his daughters on Monday night.

Marquez-Greene was not the only Puerto Rican killed in the Sandy Hook shooting—teacher Victoria Soto, whose father, Carlos Soto, is Puerto Rican—was shot after convincing the gunman that her students were in the gym. Soto is being heralded as one of the heroes of this massacre.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, President Barack Obama—who tearfully addressed the nation on Friday from the White House’s briefing room—canceled scheduled events and headed to Connecticut to spend time with the community in Newtown and attend a vigil there.

“I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation,” Obama said during the interfaith prayer vigil. ”I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight.”

Even the late night shows reflected a nation grieving. Prior to the start of his NBC show on Friday, Jimmy Fallon addressed viewers and said they are keeping the victims and their families in their prayers. On Saturday, “Saturday Night Live” opened with a tribute to those killed—a children’s choir opened the show with “Silent Night.”

But not everyone sees this tragedy under the same light. While the Sandy Hook shooting has prompted vigils around the world for some time to reflect, on Saturday, the Westboro Baptist Church decided to picket in order to “to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment,” members of the church said on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Voxxi.