I have felt sick since I first heard the news about the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Sick because I have two young children, sick because I have a husband that is a high school administrator and I worry about his safety everyday, and sick because these tragedies have become common occurances. When these things happen, I usually spend hours watching the news, trying to put together the pieces, and putting myself in the shoes of parents who have suffered an unbearable loss. I couldn’t do it this time, it just hurt too much.
I’m calling for a new response when the worst happens. I’ve seen how we can rise up during tragedies. After the 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, thusands of people sent in donations to help the families affected put together the pieces. We all felt better because we did our part to help heal the wound but I want us to take it one step further. I want us to also take one small step to prevent the worst from happening again. If every single one of us got out of our media fueled depression and took just one step to prevent the next tragedy from happening and told everyone we connect with what that step was, I think we would be shocked by the impact.
So here are some ideas:
If you would like to make a gift help the families impacted make a gift to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street
Newtown CT 06470
To donate online, go to https://newtown.uwwesternct.org
and then send that same amount to an organization that is working to prevent similar tragedies in your community.
If you feel like easy access to guns caused this then make a gift to a gun buy back program or to the Brady Campaign that is working on national gun policy,
If you think that mental health issues are to blame then support a local orgaization that is providing mental health services in your community. A Minnesota example is Crisis Connection, a great national example is the National Alliance for Mental Illness.
Your support doesn’t just have to be financial. Send a card to the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co, who were the first responders to the crisis and thank them for their incredible bravery during a crisis:
Sandy Hook Vol. Fire and Rescue
18-20 Riverside Rd/Po Box 783
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
and then write a letter thanking your local firefighters a letter thanking them for putting their lives on the line for our community everyday.
Reach out to parents that are struggling with their children’s mental illness, bring them a dinner or just understand how hard it is to be in their shoes.
Then encourage your friends, real and virtual to do the same. After you’ve taken your first step to help our communities heal, update your Twitter or Facebook status with the tag #26acts and the tragedy that your action is in response to this will encourage people that are feeling powerless to remember that wach of us has the power to do something about this. The only way to get rid of darkness is to shine a light on it, so let’s get shining.
More information about the #26acts movement can be found here.