On December 14, 2012, 20 schoolchildren and six faculty members lost their lives in a preventable mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They will always be remembered. The parents of Sandy Hook vowed to help create safer schools, and they are still advocating for school safety today.
Highlighted here are eight of their stories and how you can get involved.
Francine Wheeler is the mother of Benjamin Wheeler, who was sadly one of the victims of the shooting. Francine, along with her husband David, is suing Remington, the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15 that was used in the shooting. Francine is determined that this military-style weapon stays out of the hands of civilians. Francine and David delivered an address to the Senate on the importance of passing gun control legislation in 2013. In 2018, Francine testified before Democrats in the Senate on common-sense gun legislation.
Read her op-ed here: My son was killed at Sandy Hook by an AR-15. Here’s one thing I’m doing to make sure your child is safe.
Michele Gay's daughter, Josephine Gay, was killed in the shooting. Michele co-founded the organization Safe and Sound Schools with Alissa Parker and serves as executive director. Safe and Sound Schools' mission is to help schools become safer places, and Michele travels around the country delivering training via seminars and workshops. Michele is a former teacher and focuses on improving security and communication technology to help enhance the safety of schools.
Visit Safe and Sound Schools here: Safeandsoundschools.org
Alissa's daughter Emilie Parker died at Sandy Hook during the shooting. Following the shooting, Alissa began her membership to Newtown's Public Schools' Safety Committee. In 2013, with Michele Gray, Alissa Parker co-founded Safe and Sound Schools. As part of her work with Safe and Sound Schools, Alissa gives presentations on school safety. Alissa is also the author of "An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing After Sandy Hook."
Follow Alissa Parker on Twitter: alissa_parker
Buy her book on Amazon: "An Unseen Angel"
Mark is the father of Daniel Barden, who was murdered at Sandy Hook. Mark founded Sandy Hook Promise and is one of its three managing directors, along with Nicole Hockley and Tim Makris. The mission of Sandy Hook Promise is to prevent violence, especially gun violence, in schools. Mark is active in politics, actively advocating for universal background checks. Mark has spoken before the Senate on gun safety.
Learn more about Sandy Hook Promise here: https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/
Nicole is the mother of Dylan Hockley, who did not survive the shooting. Nicole, along with fellow parent Mark, founded Sandy Hook promise, and also serves as one of the three managing directors. Nicole feels as though she is honoring her son's legacy through many ways, especially through the actions of Sandy Hook Promise. For example, one of the programs of Sandy Hook Promise is Know the Signs, an evidence-based program which has trained an astounding 7.5 million people all over the country to learn the warning signs necessary to prevent school violence. Nicole travels regularly, speaking about her son Dylan and listening to other parents who have lost children in mass shootings.
Follow Nicole on Twitter: @NicoleHockley
Nelba is the mother of Ana and Isaiah Márquez-Greene. Isaiah survived the shooting. However, his big sister, Ana, tragically did not. Nelba founded The Ana Grace Project in memory of her little girl. Nelba and her family adopted the mantra "love wins" following the tragedy and they wish to remind everyone of this phrase. Nelba is an accomplished Marriage and Family Therapist, holds a master's degree, and has given numerous talks, including TEDx talks, on mental health. The Ana GraceProject has multiple services for schools, including psychiatric assessments, consultations with employees, referrals to community resources for school families, clinical interns, and lots of other resources to promote loving, healthy, and safe schools.
Learn more about The Ana Grace Project here: Anagraceproject.org
Scarlett is the mother of Jesse Lewis, who was killed in his Sandy Hook classroom. Before his death, her son wrote on the chalkboard in his kitchen the words "Nurturing Healing Love" and Scarlett has chosen to make love her mission. Scarlett founded The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation and wrote the book called Nurturing Healing Love. Scarlett believes that to reduce violence in schools, some important life skills need to be taught. The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation provides a learning platform that teaches social and emotional learning across the lifespan, at no cost. The mission is to create a school environment rich with love, compassion, and kindness.
Learn more about the Choose Love movement here: Jesselewischooselove.org
Jennifer has, in a way, lost two loved ones due to the horrible events that began on December 14. Jennifer's daughter, Avielle Richman was fatally shot at Sandy Hook. Earlier this year, her husband, Jeremy, still overcome by his grief for his daughter, died by apparent suicide. Despite these profound losses, Jennifer perseveres in her mission. The Richmans started The Avielle Foundation. The Avielle Foundation is dedicated to taking a biological approach to understanding and preventing violence through studying neuroscience research.
Click here to learn more: Aviellefoundation.org
In memory of the 26 innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook: Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel D'Avino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Dylan Hockley, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, Jesse Lewis, Ana Márquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Grace Audrey McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt.
Remember their names.
Take action to honor their memory.
Prevent another tragedy.