December 14, 2012. 6 years ago this year. The unfathomable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut that shocked the world and devastatingly seems to have spearheaded other similar acts of violence in schools around the country. I know that gun violence was a problem before Sandy Hook, but this one hit very close to home for me, making it very real. This was also one of the deadliest school shootings in US history, which brought forth nationwide attention. 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives that day on what began as an ordinary Friday.

I was in chemistry class my Sophomore year of high school when my teacher stopped class to turn on the live news because she simply did not believe that what she was reading could be true. Unfortunately it was.

Since that tragic day, there has been insurmountable grief and devastation but also a campaign that has gained significant following and progress in our country. Sandy Hook Promise was created by Mark Barden, Nicole Hockley, and Tim Makris to bring awareness and change to the problem of gun violence, primarily in schools. They have dedicated their lives to this foundation and are using it as a way to keep their children and loved ones memories alive while fighting for necessary change. I had the pleasure of listening to Mark Barden deliver a moving and inspirational speech about his feelings that dreadful day and how his perspective has changed from grief to anger to determination to hope since then. He truly is passionate about helping others and ensuring that a tragedy like the one that destroyed his world does not happen again.

Gun violence has exploded as a national and worldwide epidemic that needs to be addressed for the safety of innocent lives. Going to school should not bring upon anxiety and stress for parents, who fear if they will see their children get off the bus later that day. However, this is what we are faced with today as since Sandy Hook there have been upwards of 290 school shootings, 17 in 2018 alone. Yes, you read that correctly. So where is the change that so many people are fighting for? How many more innocent lives need to be lost before those who have the power to make change, finally make it? What can you do as a concerned, caring individual to help the effort for ending gun violence in schools? That answer is easy. You can be a partner with Sandy Hook Promise or another gun violence organization in your community. Support their campaign, put forth positivity, and stand up for gun control. No one wants to take the chance for their life to be personally effected by gun violence and the only way to solve the problem for good is to be persistent and determined in pursuit of a better world for everyone.