For all the 26 bright lights who shine now from above...this one's for you.
12.14.12 is one of those days I'll personally never forget. Sitting in my MT1 class, surrounded by all my classmates, my friend Michele, also from Newtown, screamed, "Oh, my God! There's been a shooting in Newtown!!" My head was spinning. Newtown? A gun shooting in sweet, innocent little Newtown that's five miles down the road from my hometown, Brookfield. I couldn't concentrate for the rest of the day and just wanted to get home and hug my children.
As the day wore on, I learned my own kids were in lock down mode, hidden under their desks. Of all my three children, I imagined my daughter was the most scared, and when I got home that day, she hugged me tight and burst into tears. She asked to be with the people of Newtown, so we headed to a church service at Trinity. Packed to the gills, standing room only, we took seats toward the back. When the pastor began reading off the names of the children from the church whose lives had been taken, this man next to us literally broke down and let out a very loud cry, sobbing uncontrollably when Charlotte's name was mentioned. Several women and I touched his arm, held him up, and we tried our best to comfort this man. Perhaps it was his daughter he'd lostm maybe she was his niece or a family friend...I'll never know, for words were not exchanged that sad, sad day with this stranger.
This day in history opened the hearts of many, and the outpouring of love, kindness and compassion has been overwhelming. Still, like so many, I wish it had never happened. I wish these families' lives had never been ripped apart. I wish that these children had a chance to graduate high school, perhaps take a trip to Europe before graduating college, and go on to create beautiful lives of their very own. This was not God's plan, though. It's unfathomable the grief these parents, siblings, and family have experienced, but I'd like to think that these acts of kindness and compassion that were born from this tragedy have helped the lives of many, many people in need. The healing has begun, but there's still so much to do.
And so, we can honor the souls who died that day by remembering their sweet deeds and acts of courage, but we can also do something radical and take action. Too many lives have been lost at the hands of gunmen, and it's time for this madness to come to an end. It's time for stricter background checks to be in place, and it's simply time to take action to end this escalating epidemic of gun violence in our country and around the world. Here's one organization that's doing some pretty amazing on the ground work to create positive change in Washington, DC, the Newtown Action Alliance.
One local yogi has headed down to Capitol Hill with this group, creating a ripple effect of change right here in Connecticut. I plan on joining her in her mission because I am tired of hearing about senseless killings taking place each week. Another person died in a Wal-Mart out in Pennsylvania over the weekend, all because someone just waltzed in with a gun. How many more deaths will it take for you to do something? I urge you to reach out to your local representatives in Congress and find out what's being done to strengthen gun control laws in your city...the more voices, the better.
Here's a beautiful tribute and a little video which highlights the love, kindness and compassion that has come out of this tragedy on December 14, 2012.
For those of you who'd like to help be a part of the continued healing in Newtown, Lori Leyden, founder of Create Global Healing, has done some really beuatiful and transformational healing work with the families in Newtown who were directly impacted by the shooings three years ago today. Please consider making a donation to support Project Light, so that JT and Scarlett Lewis can continue making dreams come true, so that even more students in Rwanda can go to college. Click here for more info on how they've helped Betty get to college.