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‘Promise Champions’ gala celebrates bipartisan action and education programs that address gun violence

Sandy Hook Promise marks 10 years of proven interventions that save lives

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Last night, a day after a tragic shooting following a high school graduation in Richmond, Virginia, Sandy Hook Promise held its annual “Promise Champions” gala in Washington, DC. Ten years since the organization’s founding, Sandy Hook Promise’s landmark achievements in preventing gun violence, school shootings and youth suicides offer much-needed answers as the country asks how we can prevent tragedies like the Huguenot High School shooting.

“We have helped children — and the adults around them — in every state across the country with our evidence-informed, proven programs,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “More than 21 million youth and adults have participated in at least one of our programs, getting educated to ‘Know the Signs’ of violence and how to prevent it. At least 15 catastrophic school shooting plots have been averted.”

Sens. Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Jahana Hayes served as the event’s honorary co-chairs. They were joined by Sens. John Cornyn and Chris Murphy, who were honored as “Promise Champions” for their commitment to gun violence prevention through the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which President Biden signed into law last summer.

“Nothing in my life has been more important than the work I’ve gotten to do with Sandy Hook Promise. The commitment they ask you to sign, to stand up, to protect our kids, and do it in a way that brings people together, that puts all the things necessary to change this trajectory of gun violence… It is undoubtedly a huge part of the story as to why the ‘Bipartisan Safety Communities Act’ passed,” said Sen. Murphy. “The values, the collaborative commitment that Sandy Hook Promise brings to their work and spreads, in part through this gala, is an enormous part of our victory last summer.”

Sandy Hook Promise played a prominent role in passing the legislation, working closely with members of Congress and congressional staff to find common ground on gun safety measures. Specifically, Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and Hockley met with Sens. Murphy and Cornyn to help facilitate the Senate compromise to pass the legislation.

“I’m proud to have partnered with Sen. Chris Murphy on this landmark legislation and I want to thank Sandy Hook Promise for your support, as well,” said Sen. Cornyn, who shared remarks in a video message. “Our work is already making a difference in communities across the country.”
Throughout the evening, the program was punctuated with the promise of hope. While gun violence continues to rise, the co-founders noted significant gains, including lives saved. Since its founding, more than 450 young lives are confirmed to have been saved from suicide as a result of Sandy Hook Promise prevention programs.

“Gun violence can be averted if people know the warning signs and take action. And if there is sensible policy to ensure appropriate access,” said Barden. “We’ve been at this long enough that we have statistics and evidence to back that up.”

In addition to co-hosting the event, Barden joined Karen Fairchild of Grammy-winning group Little Big Town for a special musical performance.

Photos available here. Additional photos and video of the event are available upon request.


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. 

Media Contact: 

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579