NEWTOWN, CT—Today, a gunman in Decatur, Georgia entered an elementary school, barricaded in the school’s main office, and opened fire while children were in the area. After several tense moments, the gunman eventually surrendered to police without further incident. No one was injured, and all students, faculty and staff were accounted for and safe.
Nicole Hockley, the mother of 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, issued the following statement on behalf of Sandy Hook Promise in response to today’s incident:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the children of Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, who today came face to face with a threat that no child should experience. And while no one was killed or injured by the gunman’s shots, there are very real consequences stemming from today’s incident. No child should ever have reason to be afraid to go to school and no parent should be afraid that the child they send to school in the morning won't be coming home in the afternoon. If it can happen in Newtown, CT it can happen anywhere. That is why moments like this demand that we all work together to find common sense solutions we can support individually, and as a nation, to prevent tragedy and save lives.”
The Newtown Yoga Festival is a grassroots festival created by members of Newtown and its neighbors. The intention of the festival is to offer the enlightening teachings of Beryl Bender Birch and Seane Corn. With Newtown's own beloved Karen Pierce heading up the children's yoga classes, this is truly a family friendly event. Vendors will be on site, live music will be played throughout the day, bocce ball courts will be open. We hope a seed takes root in the hearts of all who attend, as a reminder of the importance of mindfulness, acceptance and love. The first annual Newtown Yoga Festival is not a for profit event. All proceeds go to Sandy Hook Promise.
Since tragedy rocked our community late last year, Sandy Hook Promise families have devoted their time and attention to making a meaningful impact on legislative solutions to build safer and healthier communities free from the threat of gun violence. Our advocacy efforts have led us from the White House to the assembly halls of states across the country, looking for common sense gun safety on both the state and federal levels. We've added our voices to the national conversation on firearm responsibility in an effort to prevent other families from experiencing our pain.
In a recent essay from The Brookings Institute, our DC policy advisor Matt Bennett of Third Way, examines how tragedy can ignite transformation and explains the history of gun legislation in this country. Read the full article here and watch an exclusive interview with the Sandy Hook Promise Executive Director, Tim Makris, below.
In the months following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, our community felt an outpouring of support from individuals from all walks of life who were eager to take action against violence and choose love. "A Concert for Newtown" was a community event that brought together the people of Newtown in song, spirit and common purpose, featuring performances from Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary, Dar Williams, Bethany Yarrow & Rufus Cappadocia.
David and Francine Wheeler, the parents of nine year-old Nate and six year-old Ben (who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary), also performed in the concert, artfully expressing their devotion to their murdered son and their commitment to turn tragedy into transformation. As Francine said on a conference call with supporters three weeks ago, "I'm going to keep singing through this." We find strength in her resolve to find her voice amid her pain, and in the Wheeler's commitment to engage in conversations about ways to make our communities and our country safer for all children. This program will be offered to the PBS community nationally soon, so if you're interested in seeing it aired in your community, please contact your local PBS station and ask them to air "A Concert for Newtown."
At Sandy Hook Promise, we believe that saving lives and preventing tragedy is everyone's responsibility. We work with partners from every corner of American life to stem the tide of gun violence. Passing new laws alone will not solve the problems that face neighborhoods across the nation, which is why we have teamed up with leading technologists and venture capitalists of Silicon Valley to explore ways in which innovation can spur solutions to gun violence.
Nicole Hockley, mother of six-year-old Dylan who was killed at Sandy Hook, talks about the promise of innovation to end gun violence in San Francisco, California.
In March, we announced a partnership with the Technology Committee to Reduce Gun Violence, a group of over 40 of the nation's leading entrepreneurs who were inspired to make a difference after the tragedy of the Sandy Hook shooting. As the committee chairman Jim Pitkow says of their role in the national gun debate, "What technology can do is shift the debate from hypothetical to practical."
To that end, Sandy Hook Promise has announced a national "call for ideas," working with the Committee to find and fund promising innovations in gun safety, mental health research and related new technologies that will help to prevent gun tragedies.
To read more about the Technology Committee to Reduce Gun Violence, read this recent interview with Jim Pitkow about how the group was formed and the promising ways in which innovation can spur common sense solutions. Have an idea yourself? Learn more about the Innovation Initiative, to submit an idea and get involved.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of 9-year-old Joshua who was killed yesterday by his father in a New Hampshire YMCA. Gun violence is the second-leading cause of death among children in the United States. Only car accidents claim the lives of more children and teenagers than guns. Let's work together to make sure no child's life ends in tragedy.
The Sandy Hook Promise office welcomed some four-legged friends as part of the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation's new initiative Scout's Angels, which launched in Newtown this month. Cashew and Nutmeg, along with five other therapy dogs and their partner therapists, will spend a week attending various events to support health and healing in the community.