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Matthew McConaughey Speaks on Gun Violence Prevention

Matthew McConaughey at the Sandy Hook Promise gala

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Excerpted from his speech given at our 10-Year Remembrance event, Matthew McConaughey shares his thoughts on gun violence and prevention. Read his important words.

I’m a father of three. I was on the sidelines before Uvalde, and then I got the call. I saw, and I still see the shock, the confusion, the pain, the anger, the sadness, the grief, and the hopelessness. I find myself still asking the question. When is grace going to come? If ever.

While the ‘why these acts of violence keep happening’ is a question that we will forever be trying to answer, the ‘how to help prevent more of these acts of violence from happening’ is a question that we can and are answering. Ten years ago, a few families tragically got the call and promised to take a one-way ticket to a future with safer schools for our children through prevention programs to make schools safer, mental health assessments, and pushing for responsible gun ownership. They continued to fight for this future, and it’s a promise that they made.

What is a Promise?

A promise is much more than a contract. A promise is non-negotiable. Eternal and relentless. A promise knows that overcoming is not an event, but something that happens over a lifetime. A promise is a covenant. Sandy Hook Promise understands the need to prevent before we need to cure – to create more health, so we have less disease. To see the warning signs before the tragedy occurs, and I say that’s the kind of epidemic that we want. It’s simple math, and we see it’s working. One challenge of many that we have in society, is that we don’t give prevention the credence that we tend to give cure.

Celebrating Prevention

Prevention is just not as dramatic as cure. It’s not as provocative. It’s less measurable. It’s even less marketable. When we dodge and evade the tragedy, the consequences don’t seem as clear. When a child grows into an adult, we tend to take it for granted. The deficits avoided seem invisible, but without healthy prevention, we know that too often is not the truth.

The cure, on the other hand, is something that we engage immediately with after the tragic act of the violence happens. It is unavoidable. It is in our face, explicit and shocking. The need for a cure seems more evident when we can count the lives lost. The deficits seem more apparent, and they always make the front-page news after it’s too late.

I think it’s time to start selling, evangelizing, and celebrating prevention. Get it off the fine print page 14 news and instead put a spotlight on it, because the assets of prevention are not invisible and often, they are quite measurable.

Sandy Hook Promise: 367 suicides prevented, 93 violent acts with a weapon prevented. 11 planned shootings averted because of a promise you made and continue to keep. The promise of lives saved, and deaths prevented through education, early aversion, and frontline communication.

Making Children’s Lives Matter

When Camila and I went to Uvalde, the parents of the children that were killed asked us for one thing. They weren’t just asking Camila and I. They were asking all of us. Americans, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, teachers, young and old. They were asking us to make their children’s lives matter. And look, there is no better way to make the lives of the children killed in Sandy Hook, Uvalde, and so many other mass shootings matter, than to invest in saving the lives of more innocent children in the future.