‘Connecticut effect’ still rolling strong
The organization (Sandy Hook Promise) is an example of determination to convert grief into a powerful force for change.
Sandy Hook Promise, a group of people devastated by the unspeakable tragedy of Dec. 14, 2012 at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, has channeled its energy into an effective offensive against gun violence.
The organization is an example of determination to convert grief into a powerful force for change.
Formed in the days after the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults on that day, the group has worked hard to educate and legislate in the arenas of gun safety and mental health, the two inextricably combined factors that converged that day in Newtown, and, alas, in the countless mass shootings that have plagued America since.
Their influence will carry even more weight now in the form of a $500,000 federal grant to Connecticut that the state will use to further its programs, including how to recognize and address red-flag behavior among youngsters.
The grant will help with teaching some 116,000 students statewide about the organization’s peer-based violence-prevention program.
The money comes from the $100 million STOP School Violence Act — a piece of legislation SHP was influential in shaping — that was signed into law by President Donald Trump in March.
The Dec. 14 tragedy was one that helped galvanize action not only in Connecticut but across the country to demand more attention to the issue of gun safety and particularly to the availability of semi-automatic weapons — designed for the battlefield — to the public at large.
So forceful, in fact, were the reverberations from Connecticut that a National Rifle Association lobbyist in Wisconsin in 2013 told supporters, “We have a strong agenda coming up for next year, but of course a lot of that’s going to be sort of delayed as the ‘Connecticut effect’ has to sort of go through the process.”
Sort of go through the process?
The process is just getting more robust. And it’s not just “the Connecticut effect.” More than 5,100 people from across the country, according to the SHP website, have signed up as Promise Leaders as the group’s efforts are recognized and are taking root nationwide.
According to the organization’s website, nearly 3.1 million people have made the Sandy Hook Promise: “I promise to do all I can to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier homes, schools and communities.”
That’s promise we all should make — and live by.