Dear Sandy Hook Partners, Friends and Family,
Over the last week, some of you reached out with concerns about the impact of the election on the work of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP). We want to reassure you that, from where we sit, nothing has changed. To achieve sustained gun violence prevention, we must shift our culture and build a significant base of Americans to demand change. This will take time and is not influenced by one election.
As we have said many times and you have witnessed over the last 4 years, national gun violence prevention will not happen until we get Americans committed to it. This requires investment in changing attitudes and behaviors – social and cultural change, beginning at the grassroots community level. Specifically, this means engaging and building an “influential majority” of Americans from all sides of the issue - the left, sensible center and center-right – to engage in prevention and pass legislation. This is SHP’s mission. You don’t need a gun violence prevention President to do this.
SHP has and will continue to engage multiple generations of Americans – adults and adolescents in red and blue states alike – through our education campaigns and prevention programs. In just 3+ years, we have educated and built a relationship with over 900,000 Americans from every state and all sides of the issue. Additionally, in the last 18 months, we have trained over 1,000,000 youth and adults in our Know the Signs gun violence prevention programs. Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi, Florida, California, Illinois, New York and everyone in between are joining and learning our programs – the demand is high. Our country needs violence prevention programs, mental wellness support and social inclusion efforts more than ever – and SHP is ready to deliver.
We know that change happens from the bottom up and that’s why Sandy Hook Promise is committed to supporting critical policy efforts that start at the state level. On Election Day, we witnessed the power of states and our collective voices when voters in Washington, Nevada and California passed laws to prevent gun violence before it happens. We’ll continue to work hard supporting state initiatives working with leaders, legislators and voters in the most rural and urban communities to pass laws that strengthen mental health care in our schools and give educators the tools they need to combat youth violence, bullying and suicide.
Federally, we look forward to working with allies old and new, Republican and Democrat, to continue to build national support for sensible gun safety and mental wellness legislation. We’ve been working for four years to pass the Mental Health Reform Act, now at its final hurdle in the Senate, and we won’t stop until this bill becomes law.
Over the next three years, SHP will double our base and triple our prevention program reach – specifically targeting the states and cities experiencing the highest rates of violent crimes and death by firearm. At this rate, we expect to have the critical mass and reach our “influential majority” of Americans by 2026. This may seem “too long”, but consider organizations who oppose our approach – these groups required over 30 years to build the influence they have today.
Our country may be divided politically, but we’re keeping our promise to bring people together from all walks of life, backgrounds and beliefs for one common, universal purpose – to prevent gun violence before it happens.
Please continue to help us by sharing our message, building our influential majority base, supporting our Know the Signs programs and donating to fuel our growth. Be assured that we will never stop acting on the promise we made our sons Dylan and Daniel almost four years ago. No election will deter us … and we know it won’t deter you either.
Nicole Hockley (Dylan’s Mom) and Mark Barden (Daniel’s Dad)