(with thanks to Middleweb for originally publishing this review)
“We try. We will always try. And also? We all matter- all of our voices rising for school safety, better resources for schools and teacher and students, etc. will help .....” - Nelba Márquez-Greene, tweet dated July 2, 2018.
Nelba Márquez-Greene is the founder of the Ana Grace Project, one of a variety of foundations and charities set up by Sandy Hook parents following the tragedy. Her ongoing advocacy for safer and more inclusive schools, her willingness to be vulnerable, her resilience, and her relentless work to bring about positive change in the world have led me to view her as a role model in my own ongoing work along the same lines. So when the idea arose that we might do a Twitter chat together on gun violence, I knew working with her was an amazing opportunity, one which I hoped many dozens of people would seize. We settled on the hashtag #SavingLivesChat, and if you click on this link, you should be able to scroll back and view the chat if you’d like.
I was the first to show up at today’s blood drive in my home town of Shelburne Falls. I sat patiently by the intake table checking my Twitter and Facebook feeds (and those of the school) on my phone as they finished getting everything ready to go. Ten or 15 minutes later, I was lying on a table listening as the donation specialist sang along to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” which was playing on the radio. I waited for the right moment to tell her that I taught Rock Band in my school, and the kids had chosen to do that song twice over the years, and she told me about her husband, “a real singer” in a metal band who was planning to participate in a benefit concert for suicide awareness this September. Moments later, “Titanium” came on the radio, and again we bonded as I told her about the time the middle school band was scheduled to do the song in a Winter Solstice Performance - and then Sandy Hook happened. We had to postpone that performance as everyone was just too raw and upset, but when the kids worked with my colleague Greg Snedeker and me to ready “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber for performance with just one rehearsal, we pulled off what my colleague Karen Suchenski called “a Christmas miracle.” (see "Resolution" if you want to read more about this.)
Founded in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Sandy Hook Promise has worked with experts to develop four different in-school programs designed to help prevent gun violence. As summarized by Judith Coffey in a recent email to Sandy Hook Promise Leaders, they are:
When I first came to SBS,
delivered by Kathleen Tuck Fontaine '83
delivered by Shayna Appel '78
I have the privilege each year of getting to say a few words to the senior class whether they want me to or not - and whether I want to or not! This year, I'm very pleased to be able to address this particular class. There are many reasons for this, seniors, but I can tell you - and this will surprise you - that to me the most stand-out characteristic about your group is that you are the only class in my long career to have written itself a mission statement. I had been invited to work with you during your junior year bonding day, and we talked about class goals. When I mentioned that goals often emerge from a sense of mission, you were all over that and worked collaboratively for about 10 minutes before you nailed who you are collectively. Here's what you came up with:
by Clara Richardson-Omamo '18