Discussing violence in Honesdale

Posted 6/21/22

HONESDALE, PA — Community dialogue is key to connecting a community in times of turmoil; Honesdale’s community came together during its borough meeting on June 13.

On May 24, 19 …

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Discussing violence in Honesdale


HONESDALE, PA — Community dialogue is key to connecting a community in times of turmoil; Honesdale’s community came together during its borough meeting on June 13.

On May 24, 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass school shooting in Uvalde, TX.

After the tragic event, communities have discussed how to avoid such tragedies. The borough opened its discussion on the tragedy and asked what the community could do next.

Council president James Hamill gave an opening statement about the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde.

“It’s very sad to see something happen like that in a very unconscionable, senseless act of violence that led to a significant loss of life,” he said. “I felt it was important to open the forum, not just to council members but community members, as well to speak on issues that might help prevent such violence in the future.”

An emotional Hamill said, “I am heartbroken for our country, and I feel as though we all need to consider how we can better treat each other. This is just a borough council meeting, but it’s [a] part of a bigger thing.”

He shared an excerpt from a column by Michael Tukeva, president/CEO at Pocono Mountains United Way, about how change needs to be made now to connect communities.

“Neighbors must care for neighbors, genuinely asking, ‘How are you?’ One caring adult makes a difference in a child’s life. I know this is possible. I know I need to be more intentional. We must not give up hope. We must continue the work until there are no more mass shootings, or better yet no shootings at all,” wrote Tukeva. Community members shared their thoughts on preventing such violence from happening in their town.

The first speaker, who did not give a name, thanked the board for discussing such a topic. The town resident stated that people needed sensitivity training. Then his speech went into the need for more support and visibility for the young LGBTQ+ community in Honesdale.

“I am concerned about how this might be affecting the [LBGTQ+] community, adding to what might lead to more children suicides. We need to be very careful and honor what is happening to bring unity to the community,” said the speaker.

Another community member shared their emotional call for change regarding violence within their community.

“I’m so sorry to say, a tenth of the violence of some our cities has been leaking into us [Honesdale]. It is coming in like oil on a shore,” said the speaker.

She went on to talk about the fears children face in the Honesdale community, such as walking alone at night and walking to a friend’s house some distance away. The speaker also added how the police department is stretched thin in its efforts to combat the possible threats that are ongoing in their community. She shared her concerns about bullying in schools, on playgrounds and in community places, and talked about the grievances of children of color, children of the LGBT+ community and more.

“It starts in the school. Some of the teachers advocate that bullying. They tell you, ‘Just sit down, don’t worry about it, I’ll talk to them.’ But you’re talking about sexual harassment, you’re talking about bullying that’s going so far these kids can’t sleep at night,” said the speaker.

She then described who is affected by such acts of aggression and the imperative nature of the problem. “It is scary, and I hope your tears do not go unseen either. Because our kids are worth it, and it’s not just our kids. It’s our grandkids, nieces, nephews, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers who can’t walk down the street, who are getting scared by these terrorizing teenagers,” said the speaker. “And it’s not OK in Honesdale.

Another speaker reemphasized the point of the need for connection among one another in a community. When community issues arise, a community must stand together in unity to solve the problem at hand.

“It’s just that connection to your neighbor, to your family even, to your friends… it’s important to see people as they are,” said the speaker.

Uvalde, mass shootings, LGBTQ+, violence, bullying, sexual harassment


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