Bipartisan Action Advances Gun Violence Prevention and Saves Lives
Newtown, CT – On Wednesday, June 15th, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) hosted its 8th annual Promise Champions Gala in Washington D.C. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, White House Domestic Policy Advisor, served as the keynote speaker where she shared her experiences of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, discussed the continuous efforts that are being made to address gun violence under Biden’s administration, and declared: “Ten years after Sandy Hook, let us keep our promise. Let us turn our outrage into sustained action. Let us continue building an America where young people can look to the future not with fear but with high hope.”
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.
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. The members of Congress who were in attendance included Senator Bob Casey, Senator Chris Coons, Rep. David Cicilline, Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Lauren Underwood, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Salud Carbajal, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Val Demmings, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Rep. Jim Himes, as well as esteemed business and philanthropic leaders and volunteers who are committed to protecting children from gun violence.
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. To date, more than 18 million students, educators, and community leaders in all 50 states have participated in SHP’s violence prevention programs, learning to recognize the signs of potential violence and how to intervene to get help. The organization has also prevented nine school shooting plots and more than 80 acts of violence with a weapon.
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. SS-ARS was recently rolled out statewide in North Carolina, and within six months the program has saved at least three lives and assisted in over 50 mental health interventions. 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.
Photos and video from the event are available upon request. If interested, please contact Stephanie Morris at [email protected].
About the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund
The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Dini von Mueffling Communications | Stephanie Morris | [email protected] | 646.650.5006