Broward has had a rough holiday season. On Friday, January 6th, we suffered an attack at our airport here in Fort Lauderdale where 5 persons lost their lives and 8 others injured as many returned from holiday travel.
On the same day, we buried a student and a teacher, 8-year old Rasheed Cunningham and veteran 4th grade teacher Christianne O’Shaughnessy Weiner, respectively. Our Superintendent Robert Runcie posted the following sentiment on FaceBook on Saturday January 7th.
“To say that yesterday was challenging is an understatement. I attended services honoring one of our outstanding educators, Christianne O’Shaughnessy Weiner, a Coral Springs Elementary School teacher, who died in a car crash. She leaves behind a wonderful family and an exemplary legacy of positively impacting the lives of so many children as well as her colleagues. I also attended services for Rasheed Cunningham, the 8-year old child in Dania Beach who lost his life to gun violence while walking home from a birthday party. No family should have to bury their young child.
These services were going on against the backdrop of the shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport that took five lives and injured many others. The common element I witnessed within all of this is the power of family, friends, community and public agencies to come together to deal with grief and tragedy.
Sometimes it is at our worst moments, that we see the best of the human spirit. These are moments when the divisive narratives around race, class, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, political parties, and religion become secondary. These are the moments we realize we have more in common than we thought and that our futures are inextricably linked. These are moments where we recognize that we are much stronger working together. The challenge for future generations is how to take the positive things we learn from these moments and make them the norm.
Our thoughts, prayers and love go out to the families of Chris, Rasheed, and victims of the airport tragedy.
Our hearts are heavy. Well said Superintendent Runcie.