FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dini von Mueffling Communications
“A Night Honoring Promise Champions”
Sandy Hook Promise Hosted its 3rd Annual Champions Gala in Washington D.C.
Elected Officials From Across the Aisle United To Support The Gun Violence Prevention Organization In The Shadow Of Recent Tragedies
Newtown, CT - Wednesday June 14th, was an emotional day on Capitol Hill following the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and several others, but members of Congress from the across the aisle showed a groundswell of support at Sandy Hook Promise’s 3rd annual Promise Champions Gala event at the Mellon Auditorium.
The event was hosted by Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, co-Founders and Managing Directors at Sandy Hook Promise (SHP). Hockley’s son Dylan and Mark’s son Daniel were among the 20 first graders and 6 educators killed at the Sandy Hook School tragedy on December 14, 2012.
The event honored men and women from across the country for their work in gun violence prevention and mental health support, including Promise Champions U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) who were honored for their consistent support of common sense efforts to address gun violence.
In 2016, Senator Collins committed to finding common ground with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and those with severe mental illness. She introduced bipartisan legislation in 2016 to prevent people on the No Fly List of Selectee List from purchasing firearms, and supported the Manchin-Toomey Background Check Bill in 2013 and 2015.
Senator Manchin co-authored the Manchin-Toomey Background Check Bill in 2013 and 2015, working closely with Sandy Hook Promise and listening to the voices of his constituents and the nation. Senator Manchin continues to advocate for commonsense, bipartisan solutions, working with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to prevent gun violence and keep constituents safe.
The honorary co-chairs for the evening U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth H. Esty (D-CT), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), spoke passionately about their personal connections with the cause, and their shared goal of reducing violence across the United States. Honorary co-chair U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democratic Leader (D-NY) was also acknowledged for his ongoing support, but was unable to attend in person.
SHP’s mission galvanized support from over 50 members of Congress who served on the honorary co-chair committee for this event. They were joined at the gala by esteemed business and philanthropic leaders, and Promise Leaders from across the nation who are creating change within their communities.
Following the horrific shooting of Scalise and others who were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, and the San Francisco UPS employee shootings earlier in the day, SHP co-founder Nicole Hockley said “Every time I hear about another act of gun violence, the pain of the day I lost my son comes rushing back. Losing a loved one like this is not something you ever get over. But what we want is to prevent others from ever having to feel our pain. That’s how we honor Dylan and Daniel and all the lives lost to gun violence … by creating meaningful, sustainable cultural change, while working to save lives every day. Sadly, incidents of gun violence in our country are still shockingly high. It pains me to say this, but since Sandy Hook, more than 10,000 children under the age of 19 have died as a result of gun violence. That’s 10,000 other families who live with the same pain we do every day.”
Despite the somber tone, Sandy Hook Promise celebrated the great strides it has made in the gun violence prevention and mental health and wellness space to date. In less than three years, SHP has trained nearly 2 million youth and adults in over 3700 schools, across all 50 states with their Know The Signs violence prevention programs on mental health and wellness, identification of at-risk behaviors and how to take action and get help before a situation escalates.
Through their initiatives, SHP has stopped multiple school shootings, suicides and other acts of violence, as well as reduced incidences of bullying, threats and weapons being brought into school and helped many young people get the mental health services support they need. However, there is still much work to be done. Over a half million acts of gun violence occur annually in the U.S. Every day, 314 people are shot, and of those 41 are children under the age of 18.
The event included an opportunity to celebrate and honor many of SHP’s partnerships with some of the country’s largest school districts, and the generation of young minds they have been training. Students and school administrators from the Miami Dade County Public Schools in Miami, FL; Burnet Middle School in Burnet, TX; Dutchtown High School in Hampton, GA; and Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley, CA attended the event. The Voices of Promise honorees school administrator Sara Te (Burnet, TX), and students Arlette De La Rosa (Miami, FL) and Micaylah Clark (Dutchtown, GA) each gave heartfelt speeches about the impact that SHP’s programs have had in their schools in reducing bullying, promoting social inclusion, and building awareness of ways to identify, act and prevent potential acts of violence.
The event was supported The Association for Accessible Medicines as Presenting Sponsor, and President & CEO Chip Davis was personally thanked for his longstanding partnership with SHP. The event’s Pillar Sponsors, included Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Centene Corporation, Comcast Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, Pepsico, PhRMA, S&P Global and The Lawrence and Elva O’Brien Family Foundation.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. SHP is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.
Chairman, NBC News
June 13, 2017
Dear Mr. Lack,
As a co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and as mother of six-year-old Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting, I respectfully ask you not to broadcast Megyn Kelly’s interview with Alex Jones.
That Jones could posit that what happened in Newtown was a hoax is beyond reprehensible; it is indefensible. It dishonors the lives of the 20 children and 6 adults who died on Dec. 14, 2012. The exposure that Jones will receive as a result of the broadcast will enrich him further and invigorate him and his supporters.
There is undeniable evidence that whenever conspiracy theorists are given a platform or voice, it bolsters them.
Sadly, since shortly after the shooting, a growing group of hoaxers has made it their mission to harass families in Sandy Hook. They claim that the shooting never happened, that no one died, that some of us are just crisis actors, paid to play a role for political or policy reasons. It goes without saying that many of these hoaxers stay hidden behind their anonymous avatars, with cowardly attacks mainly on social media. But some, like Jones, come forward. Some of them do become dangerous, and it is not uncommon to receive ongoing acts of harassment, hate mail and death threats as they feed off one another. This is best seen in the DC pizza shooting threat which was driven by Jones. To have to deal with this, on top of having lost a child, is both disgusting and unbearable.
We respect the thought and approach, however, you missed the larger impact in that giving Jones a platform and national forum, the real impact will be on families.
Listening to Jones' comments in the last 24 hours, it is obvious he is basking in the platform he has already been given due to the outcry and is baiting you to air the show. Please - don't make this about him. Make this about the people he and his followers harm.
I urge you not to broadcast Alex Jones’ interview.
Nicole Hockley (Dylan’s Mom)
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) will be providing Screening for Mental Health Inc.'s (SMH) SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS Program) to schools nationwide as part of its Know The Signs violence prevention programs. SHP presenters will train school staff, faculty, parents, and students about the risk factors and warning signs for youth suicide and how to stop violence and self-harm BEFORE it happens.
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is pleased to announce it has joined forces with youth violence prevention group National Association of S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere), Inc. (SAVE) to collectively expand their reach and sustain their work on educating and empowering young people to help prevent violence BEFORE it happens.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Newtown, CT - Sandy Hook Promise, a leading gun violence prevention organization, and NBC host Megyn Kelly have agreed that Kelly will no longer host the organization’s annual Promise Champions Gala on Wednesday, June 14th, in Washington DC. This decision was spurred by NBC’s planned broadcast of Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who believes the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, was a hoax.
“Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones and have asked Megyn Kelly to step down as our Promise Champion Gala host,” said Nicole Hockley, co-Founder and Managing Director. “It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”
For us, there is no moving on from the horrific day when 20 children and six educators were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, from the day we lost our loved ones forever – there is only moving forward.
On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a segment that showed how some Newtown families have spent the last four years moving forward. We hope you'll take a moment to watch it now to learn more about the work Mark and Nicole have done over the past four years to honor their sons and protect children from gun violence.