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 moved forward. We hope you'll take a moment to watch it now to learn more about the work Mark and Nicole have done to honor their sons and protect children from gun violence.
This is big! Legislation on background checks is moving in New Mexico. On February 4, HB 50 and SB 48 passed a first committee vote in both chambers of the New Mexico legislature, and they are gaining momentum. Now is the time to get organized and add your voice.
Sandy Hook Promise is proud to support HB 50 and SB 48 to require background checks on all gun sales. These bills would close the loopholes in New Mexico law that allow criminals to easily bypass the system by purchasing firearms without a background check from unlicensed sellers, at gun shows or online from strangers. We know that universal background checks work and that, if passed, this legislation will help save lives. There will be a lot of work to do over the coming months to get these bills across the finish line.
That’s why we are starting now by adding all of our voices in support of this critical legislation. Can you please make a quick call to your state representative and senator now and ask them to support HB 50 and SB 48? You can click here to find your local representatives.
Here are some talking points for your calls:
We know that policy and political progress can often feel slow and difficult. Remaining strong and active in our states and local communities is so important. We really believe that together we can pass this important legislation for New Mexico and help prevent gun violence before it happens.
For every 10.5 guns collected under Connecticut’s gun violence restraining orders, one person was stopped from taking his or her own life, researchers estimate. Eleven states are considering similar policies.
We're proud to announce the winners of our second annual Say Something Call-to-Action Week. The proven Say Something program teaches youth and adults the signs of at-risk behavior and how to properly intervene before someone hurts themselves or someone else. The call-to-action week invites schools and communities across the country to teach youth and teens how to be “upstanders” in their community instead of being bystanders.
From October 24th through the 28th, SHP hosted its 2nd Annual Say Something Call-to-Action week. Hundreds of middle schools and high schools in 49 states participated in engaging weeklong activities. To galvanize the schools to make the program and activities their own, a contest was held. The schools that went above and beyond to incorporate the core values of Say Something into their school culture, as well as the community at large, are now being rewarded for all of their hard work. This year, SHP has expanded its awards to three categories, which include the grand prize, as well as awards for those who demonstrated student spirit and creativity and community outreach.
The Say Something grand prizewinner for 2016 is Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley, CA, as student ambassadors took full ownership of planning and executing a series of events throughout the week to galvanize students. They created posters, decorated the campus, ran lunchtime activities, created and produced videos for school-wide broadcasts which opened up dialogue in the classrooms, sent a letter to parents informing them of the program and encouraging conversation at home, and ran an Instagram campaign and competition to engage students via social media, among other events. All of their students participated in at least one Say Something activity during the week. Steele Canyon High School also received an honorable mention during last year’s call-to-action week and has sustained Say Something throughout the year. As the grand prizewinners, the students will receive a Say Something plaque, a personal visit from SHP with media and a videographer, Promise Club Seed Money in the amount of $2,500, mention and recognition on SHP’s social media channels and related materials.
The winners of Say Something Student Spirit, Creativity and Sustainability and the Say Something Community Reach and Sustainability categories are Dutchtown High School in Hampton, GA and Harvest Middle School in Napa, CA respectively.
Dutchtown High School’s Peer Mediation Team took the lead on energizing their peers by setting up a table in the commons area/lunchroom to educate students about the Say Something program. They encouraged students to take the pledge of looking for warning signs and acting immediately if they see or hear something by telling a trusted adult or by writing an anonymous note and dropping it into a Say Something box in the counseling office, which will remain for the rest of the year. The Peer Mediation team also went into classrooms to discuss bullying and how students can report school violence.
Harvest Middle School not only held events at their school, but also expanded its reach to the community by setting up a table at the school’s fall festival where parents and community leaders also learned about Say Something. Leading up to the festival, student leaders planned all of the events and created PowerPoints, videos, padlets and activities. Student leaders also created a photo booth for students, as well as took a photo with ¾ of the school in the shape a heart that was shared via social media. It was the first time the school had done anything like that.
For being the winners of the Say Something Student Spirit, Creativity and Sustainability and Say Something Community Reach and Sustainability categories, Dutchtown High School and Harvest Middle School each will receive a Say Something plaque, a personal visit from SHP with media and a videographer, Promise Seed Club Money in the amount of $1,000 and mention on SHP’s social media channels and related materials.
The runners up for the Say Something Student Spirit, Creativity and Sustainably Award are: John Reed Middle School in Redding, CT and Harding/Garfield Middle School in Lakewood, OH, and the runners up for the Say Something Community Reach and Sustainably Award are: Clark Lane Middle School in Waterford, CT and Medina High School in Medina, OH. Each of these schools will receive a Say Something plaque, Promise Club Seed Money in the amount of $500 and mention on SHP’s social media channels and related materials.
“To date, our Say Something program has helped countless students across the country diffuse potential acts of violence as well as helped those who were thinking of harming themselves,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of 6-year old Dylan Hockley who was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy. “Whenever we do Say Something presentations, there is always someone who approaches me or our Promise Presenters with a concern about their friend or a potential threat. Youth and teens see and hear things that adults can’t, that is why it is so important for us to train them to look out for one another, be upstanders and to intervene by saying something if they see an individual exhibiting at-risk behaviors.”
In 4 out of 5 school shootings, the attacker told someone of his/her plans prior to the attack and 70% or people who complete suicide told someone of their intention or gave some type of warning. SHP’s Know the Signs programs, including Say Something, educate young people and adults about the warning signs and to how to intervene before it’s too late.
In the past 22 months, SHP has trained over 1.340 million youth, teens and adults in at least one of its four Know the Signs programs, including Say Something. SHP also released a powerful PSA titled “Evan” in December 2016, which received over 115 million views worldwide.
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. Sandy Hook Promise is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing parents, schools and communities 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.
Sandy Hook Promise launched four years ago today. We are so grateful for all that our supporters have helped us accomplish already:
We will never stop working to protect our kids from gun violence.
The Senate passes the 21st Century Cures Act 94-5 and helps ensure those struggling with mental health receive the access and care they deserve
Today the Senate took a significant step to save lives across the country by voting 94-5 to pass the 21st Century Cares Act, which will enact meaningful reforms to the country’s mental health and criminal justice systems, as well as fund research into cancer and other diseases. For nearly four years, SHP has worked tirelessly to pass mental health reform legislation to ensure that those in distress have access to the services they need. This is a tremendous victory for the organization, as well as those it partnered with to pass this very important legislation including American Psychiatric Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Psychological Association, the Eating Disorders Coalition, Mental Health America, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Sandy Hook Promise praises the steadfast dedication of the Senators it also worked closely with to help pass this bill including, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Al Franken (D-MN). President Obama praised the bill during his weekly address on Saturday and is expected to quickly sign it.
“It was a team effort to get this bill done,” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut after Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act. “There was a big question this fall as to whether the Mental Health Reform Act will be part of this package…[but] there was a turning point moment that Sandy Hook Promise and Mark [Barden] had big role in.”
Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) who lost his first-grade son, Daniel Barden, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, commented on the bill’s passage, “The passing of this bill is such a monumental success for us at Sandy Hook Promise and all of the mental health organizations that we partnered with who have worked tirelessly for nearly four years to pass the mental health reform. I applaud the outstanding leadership of our Senators and Representatives, as this bill will help millions of people in need. This legislation begins to do the critical work of prioritizing early intervention and increasing access to mental health services and suicide prevention programs. And we are ready for the work ahead.”
The 21st Century Cures Act aims to strengthen federal coordination of mental health resources, increase reporting on mental health parity, advance integrated service delivery, support the mental health workforce, increase early access to mental health services, promote suicide prevention and enact meaningful reforms to criminal justice systems. New work is also expected in the field of immunotherapy, a promising treatment for cancer and in the study of the brain, which could bring discoveries on Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness, as well as expands treatment for those battling drug addiction.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a non-partisan national nonprofit formed and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Based in Newtown, Connecticut, SHP’s sole purpose is to prevent gun violence BEFORE it happens so that no other parents experience the senseless, horrific loss of their child. SHP delivers four, at no cost, Know the Signs programs that teach youth and adults to recognize signs and signals of individuals who may be at-risk of hurting themselves or others and intervene to get them help before it is too late. SHP’s Know the Signs programs have helped stop a school shooting, multiple suicide and firearm threats, while also intervening to help individuals get mental health assistance. Additionally, SHP advocates for sensible state and federal violence prevention policy in the areas of mental health and wellness identification, intervention and treatment as well as firearm access and storage. To bring SHP’s Know the Signs programs to your school or community or help advocate for sensible policy, visit sandyhookpromise.org.