This week, I spent two days with Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was shot at Sandy Hook five years ago, dying in the arms of his special education assistant, who also died trying to protect him.
I’m a mother with a son the same age as Dylan, and my heart breaks for Nicole — and what the Parkland community in Florida is experiencing right now. As Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School becomes the site of yet another school shooting in America this year, I am overwhelmed by the enormity of the gun violence problem in our country.
Nicole created Sandy Hook Promise after Dylan’s death to ensure we don’t lose hope. So that we know that wherever we fall on the divisive issue of gun control, there is in fact something all of us can get behind right now — the urgent need to stop gun violence before it starts.
After all, the real story isn’t what happens during a school shooting. It’s what happens the weeks, months or years before a young person ever picks up a gun, and the many missed signs and signals along the way.
I’m proud to lead the Gen2Gen campaign to mobilize 1 million people 50+ to help kids thrive. And I’m proud of our ever-growing, action-oriented community of tens of thousands of people committed to living Gen2Gen.
We talk all the time about creating a society where older people standing up for young people is the norm. This week’s tragic events offer a chance to do something important.
- Read and share this New York Times resource on how to talk to kids about the school shooting in Florida.
- Bring the Sandy Hook Promise Know the Signs program into your local schools, faith institutions or community organizations to teach children and adults how to know the warning signs that could lead to someone hurting themselves or others, and how to intervene.
- Become a Promise Leader to receive ongoing support and training on how to bring free resources from Sandy Hook Promise into your community.
- Demand sustainable gun violence prevention methods from your legislators. Call your representatives in Washington and urge them to support the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. This legislation invests in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence.
I’m tired of feeling helpless and hopeless. Let’s join Nicole and countless others in standing up and showing up for kids — not just in the moments immediately following a major tragedy, but in all the moments when the sustained presence of a caring adult can make a world of difference.
If your friends have heavy hearts, too, please share this post so they know what they can do today. And encourage them to join Gen2Gen. The more of us who stand up for kids, the stronger our voices!