FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Senator Bob Casey and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers
honored at Sandy Hook Promise’s 4th Annual Gala in Washington D.C.
The evening focused on the importance of proven intervention methods to
“Change the Ending” and stop gun violence before it happens
Newtown, CT – [Date] – On the evening of Wednesday, June 13th, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) hosted its 4th annual Promise Champions Gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C. MSNBC anchor and NBC News Correspondent, Stephanie Ruhle served as the emcee for the evening.
The gala honored men and women from across the country for their work in violence and gun violence prevention, including U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) who were recognized for their commitment to creating safer communities through their gun violence prevention and mental health awareness work. This year’s theme was centered around how each of us can CHANGE THE ENDING, as we all have the power to intervene and get help for a person who is at-risk of harming themselves or others. SHP also shared stories of potential threats that happen far too often and what SHP’s programs are doing to educate schools and communities across the country to Know the Signs and intervene for better outcomes. Lead sponsors for this year’s event included the Association for Accessible Medicines, General Dynamics, and The Elva and Lawrence O'Brien Family Trust.
“The Sandy Hook tragedy had a profound impact on the way that I approach the gun reform debate,” said Senator Casey. “Sandy Hook Promise does a great deal to honor the legacy of those who lost their lives that day, and I am honored to receive this award. We must continue to do all we can to stop gun violence in America, including passing common-sense gun reform in Congress. I remain hopeful that my colleagues will come together to solve this all-too-common problem.”
“When anger and fear threaten to tear us down, it’s on all of us to be better neighbors and to do our part in building stronger communities. We cannot change the ending alone. It takes each one of us doing our part,” said House Republican Conference Chair McMorris Rodgers in her remarks at the gala. “That’s why I’m also grateful for the work and leadership of Sandy Hook Promise. [The organization is] equipping students and schools to know the warning signs of violence and suicide, [and] helping parents, and training schools to intervene before it’s too late. School should be a place of learning where our children make friends, find their talents, and reach their full potential. We must be having the courageous conversations about what programs and solutions work to keep them safe.”
The honorary co-chairs for this year’s gala were U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democratic Leader, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, who each made remarks during the program praising SHP for its efforts to keep our students safe. SHP’s mission galvanized the support from both sides of the political aisle, as over 50 members of Congress came together to serve on the honorary co-chair committee for this event, and of those the following were in attendance, Congressman Ted Deutch, Representative John Larson, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Congressman Jim Hines, and Senator Pat Toomey. They were joined by esteemed business and philanthropic leaders and Promise Leaders from across the nation who are creating change within their communities, including leaders from Comcast; Aetna; Cigna, Merck, Airlines for America, Novartis; Klein/Johnson Group; WilmerHale; Anthem, Lockheed Martin, PepsiCo and others.
The impact of SHP’s Know the Signs programs, particularly its Say Something and Start with Hello programs, were brought to life by local Washington D.C. student performers. The performers opened the program with each student delivering a moving monologue discussing topics such as bullying, depression, and suicide from a teenager’s perspective. Their second performance, following the dinner, moved the crowd to tears with an inspirational version of the song “You Will Be Found” from the Broadway show, Dear Evan Hanson.
In less than four years, SHP has trained over 3.5 million youth and adults across all 50 states in at least one of its four proven Know the Signs programs. These programs have stopped multiple planned school shootings and suicides, reduced bullying, threats and weapons being brought into schools, and helped many young people get the mental health services they need.
The organization was also instrumental in passing the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 at the federal level, which provides states with funding they need to bring life-saving violence prevention programs to schools, helping to train students, teachers, and adults on how to identify and report warning signs of gun violence before tragedies occur. In addition to this important legislation, SHP also nationally launched its Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, that allows students to anonymously report at-risk behaviors they see on social media and/or at their school or community via an app, online, or by calling a dedicated hotline. Since the launch in March, 200 school districts across the country have launched the program or have signed up to roll it out their students.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. SHP is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.
For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.
Photos from the event are available. Please contact Stephanie Morris at Stephanie@dvmcpr.com or
Dini von Mueffling Communications