One year after the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT, is still a town in mourning. As the nation continues to debate gun control, assault weapon bans, and funding for mental health issues, we can't take our minds off the 26 families of the victims who lost their lives in the Newtown shooting a year ago today — let alone try to explain to our kids why it happened.
A beautifully written piece by Rob Cox, cofounder of Sandy Hook Promise, ran in USA Today and reminds us that a year isn't nearly enough time to heal in the wake of such a tragic and senseless act of violence:
Newtown still needs a hug. Don't be fooled by my hometown's prickly approach to the media, or even to well-wishers with their legions of teddy bears and letters. It is not a show of anger or entitlement that town leaders are asking the press to allow the community to mourn privately the 20 first-graders and six educators massacred a year ago Saturday at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Newtowners are not shirking a responsibility to remember and record what happened. They just need space and time to heal . . . Eventually this community will be ready to accept the embrace of the world. And it will give a big bear hug right back.
Until then, the 26 families directly impacted by the shooting in Newtown have joined together to build My Sandy Hook Family, a website that serves as a united front for sharing, communicating, and honoring the loved ones who they lost. Visiting the site will allow you to learn more about each of the victims and contribute to their individual memorial funds.
Here, other ways that you can show your love and support:
- Perform an act of kindness: In an op-ed in the Norwalk Daily Voice, Gov. Dannel Malloy wrote: "It's my belief that the best way to honor those we lost is to find again the spirit of compassion and togetherness that we felt in the days that followed the heartbreaking events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Donate to a local charity, volunteer your time in service to your community, or simply come together with friends and family and appreciate the time that we have together."
- Get involved in Parent Together: The nationwide campaign founded by Sandy Hook Promise was started to educate and empower parents to effect change in their own communities in hopes of preventing future senseless acts of violence.
- Visit My Sandy Hook Family: The 26 families who were directly impacted by the massacre at Sandy Hook have joined forces to create an online memorial to their loved ones. Click on any of the names that comprise the heart on the homepage to learn more about them, and if applicable, contribute to their individual memorial funds.
- Donate to The Sandy Hook School Memorial Fund: The University of Connecticut has established a scholarship fund for any students who currently go to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as siblings of those killed and dependents of teachers and the other adults who lost their lives protecting the school's students. The fund was started with an $80,000 donation from UConn Women's Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma.
- Donate to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund: The United Way of Western Connecticut has established a fund to provide support both short- and long-term support for the community and families that have been affected.