Yesterday I was sad. Today I am sad. And scared. And most of all, angry. Determined to take action. Read on to get some ideas on actions you too can take – and an opportunity from me to double match up to $1,500 in reader contributions. Trippling your money.
Yesterday, nineteen sets of parents said goodbye to their children. They packed little backpacks, talked about the upcoming end of the school year in just a few days, and made sure their kids had remembered their homework. They packed lunches, took their kids to the bus, and waved goodbye. Maybe they did “heart hands” and the “I Love You” hand sign as the bus faded from view, like my first grader does. Maybe in the back of their mind – like me on Monday, as I said goodbye to my seven year old before heading to Delaware – they wondered whether or not today would be the day their child was the victim of a mass murderer.
Those parents will never see their children alive again.
Two families said “see you later!” to teachers. To mom, to daughter, to sister. Teachers who got into the profession to help little kids learn. Teachers who have been through the nightmare that was teaching during the pandemic. Virtual school, mask battles, kids having trouble learning, and so on. Who were likely looking forward to some well deserved summer vacation. Teachers who then laid down their lives to try and – sadly unsuccessfully – save their room full of terrified fourth graders likely pleading for their moms and dads.
Last night I fell asleep in tears. The death count kept climbing, horrifying details emerging, and I couldn’t believe this is happening AGAIN. I live forty-five minutes from Sandy Hook. I’ve driven past it on the highway at least a few times a year. Heck, I passed by it on the way back from a Spain work trip just a month ago. I remember that day, ten years ago, sitting at my desk at work when the news that an elementary school in Connecticut had experienced a shooting. I had elementary school aged kids. It was terrifying as I waited for the news to confirm the school, and so sad as I saw their names, ages, and little faces.
They were only a year off of my middle son, now fourteen. Sandy Hook is a town much like mine. It could have been him. Or anyone. I have three kids, all boys, who are now eighteen, fourteen and seven. I worry about them every single day, and I can’t imagine my world if they didn’t come home one day.
Yesterday I fell asleep in tears, after tossing and turning for hours. I couldn’t even hug my kids, because of course I’m on a business trip this week and don’t get back until Thursday night. Today – I woke up upset. Scared. But most of all angry. Angry that this is happening again, that we have learned nothing, and changed nothing. Today I’m determined to take some kind of action. If we keep doing what we’ve been doing – it will keep happening.
What changed after Sandy Hook? Much hand wringing. Thoughts and prayers. Vigils and moments of silence. In fact, my husband and I went to a vigil in Hartford after the shooting. But the only thing that changed were ever more drills in school. More security to enter the building. Nothing systemic. No mental health support – mental health help is and has been almost impossible to get in this country, especially when you need it. Nothing on guns. Nothing.
In what other country does an eighteen year old – who can’t even be trusted to buy and drink a beer for Gods sake – get to buy multiple AR 15’s and hundreds of rounds of ammunition right after his birthday.
I have HAD IT with silence. I will take action.
Here’s what I’m doing – and what you can do where I’ll triple the impact.
As I mentioned a few months ago, one of the advantages of debt freedom is that you have more freedom to support causes you care about. Today I donated a thousand dollars to Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent violence just like what happened yesterday. That donation was matched by my company dollar for dollar.
I am offering to match your contribution to a cause to help take action to prevent something like this from happening again. For every dollar you contribute to a cause to end gun violence, support mental health help, donate to victim support, or anything related to taking action to stop this – I will contribute a dollar to Sandy Hook Promise, and have that matched by my company, up to $1,500 in personal contributions. So a $1,500 donation from this community will have $4,500 in impact.
Looking for ideas on causes? Sandy Hook Promise is one idea. There’s also Everytown, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the Brady Center to End Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, Donors Choose to help teachers, or the National Alliance on Mental Illness – to name a few ideas. Just email, DM, comment, or message me with where and what you donated.
Write all your legislators and demand change. Tell them this needs to stop and you expect them to take action. Vote. And vote with your dollars.
Check in with a mom, a dad, or kids old enough to understand what happened. We are not OK.
If you’re a leader at work, as I am, take time to talk about what’s happened and how people are feeling. Offer company resources to help. It’s OK to not be OK. Many people are struggling just to get through the pandemic, and a war, and everything else – this on top of all that can be too much. People need and want to hear their leaders talking acknowledging this is a terrible situation.
Thoughts, prayers, vigils, and moments of silence may be fine to honor the victims. We unfortunately have no other way to help them now.
But only real change, actions, and refusing to stay silent will help those who will be victims in the future. Only by doing something can we keep this from happening again.