Each year at the Promise Champions Gala in Washington, D.C., Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) honors elected officials who are working to end gun violence and make schools, homes, and communities safer for children.
The 8th annual Gala was held on June 15, 2022 in Washington D.C. and Ambassador Susan E. Rice, White House Domestic Policy Advisor, served as the keynote speaker.
The honorary co-chairs for this year’s gala were Senate Democratic Leader and Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-CT). SHP’s mission galvanized support from both sides of the political aisle, as more than 100 members of Congress came together to serve on the Honorary Congressional Committee.
MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle was the emcee for the evening, and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL) were honored for their commitment to strengthening youth mental health support and suicide prevention. Congressman Bilirakis also presented SHP with a signed copy of the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act bill, which was championed by both Senator Murray and Congressman Bilirakis, and signed into law by President Biden in March 2022. The law expands access to evidence-based suicide prevention training for students in grades 6 through 12.
This year’s gala recognized the 10-year remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, while also highlighting the prevention that SHP has achieved throughout the years with stories of interventions and positive impact of SHP’s signature Know the Signs programs.
In addition, Mark Barden, SHP’s co-founder and CEO, introduced Crystal Garrant, the organization’s first Chief Program Officer, who spoke about the impact of SHP’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS), which has resulted in more than 2,700 mental health interventions saving at least 321 students from suicide. Garrant also announced that SHP plans to launch an age-appropriate version of its proven Say Something program at the elementary school level and will expand its programming in urban areas this fall.