Just one day after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Cub’s Anthony Rizzo left Spring Training to speak at his former school.
According to ESPN, Rizzo called for a change – acknowledging he did not have all the answers.
“While I don’t have all the answers, I know that something has to change before this is visited on another community, and another community, and another community,” the 2007 graduate of the school said on Thursday night’s candlelight vigil for the victims of the school’s massacre.
When a gunman opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle, seventeen people were killed at the school in South Florida, including students and school workers.
Rizzo was one of about two dozen speakers who spoke to a crow of thousands who came to show their support at the Parkland Amphitheater, leaving Cubs training camp in Arizona on Wednesday.
That same day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Assistant football coach, security monitor Aaron Feis, cross country coach Scott Beigel and athletic director Chris Hixon were among those killed in the tragic shooting.
“I come home to Parkland to what should be everybody’s first concern, and that’s showing our kids out there — the students at Stoneman Douglas and of Broward County and from all over the country — that we care about their lives and about their future,” Rizzo said. “I’ve been very impressed with talking to the students and how they’re taking care of each other and how they’re coming together. I’m so grateful to the teachers, the coaches, the administration and all the first responders that tried to protect them.”
Rizzo was seated on the amphitheater stage in a black polo with a red ribbon pinned above his right chest, seated next to spiritual leaders, government officials and family members of the deceased.
As the names of the 17 victims were read aloud, Rizzo took part in the touching candle-light ceremony. Afterwards, he took the podium and spoke for a few minutes, promising comfort to an emotional crowd.
“I am only who I am because of this community,” Rizzo said. “And I just want all of you to know how proud I am to be a part of this community. I want you to know that you’re not alone in your grief. We’re all grieving with you. The entire country is grieving with you. So whatever comfort I can give, I will give. Whatever support I can offer to our students, teachers, coaches and families and first responders, you’ll have it.”
He continued on.
“I promise you we’re going to be mourning, grieving and a bit broken for a while,” Rizzo said during his speech. “We’re human. But I promise the cameras are going to move on. The demands of everyday life will intrude again. Classes will start again. The seasons are gonna change, and the sun is going to rise. And all we’ll have left is each other.
“We don’t know who’s hiding their sadness or feelings of guilt and loneliness, or who needs help and is too proud or afraid to ask. So we have to be there for each other, we have to cope with our pain, and we have to live each other’s pain. We have to be the best possible versions of ourselves.”
Rizzo declined to speak with reporters after the vigil concluded. It is not clear how long he will remain in Parkland before rejoining the Cubs in Arizona.
Watch the touching speech below – courtesy of ESPN.