For too long, the work of many of these groups attracted little public notice. Hopefully, however, that will now change. They will not be easily dismissed.
To get at the turning points in the years-long chain of events that led a young, isolated, desperate man to kill his mother, 20 six- and seven-year-old children, six adults and then himself, we need to ask more questions.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, visited the White House Wednesday to contribute to the administration's discussions on gun control policy and school safety in light of the horrific Newtown elementary school shooting in December. The AFT has shared Weingarten's recommendations with HuffPost. They include things like gun safety legislation and mental health services for students, and letting schools make their own decisions when it comes to the question of cops in their buildings.
In the spirit of the Magi who brought gifts to the Christ Child, let's take a few moments to consider what gifts we should bring to all of God's children.
President Obama and his talented foreign policy team must explain to fellow leaders, in particular their European friends, and the international public at large, what the administration intends to do to avoid the return of the threat of the fiscal cliff
Even though the Newtown shootings ignited a passion for stricter gun control, from everything I see and hear it's going to be very difficult to pass meaningful legislation to prevent another tragedy.
Providing an opportunity for public school children to reflect on their unique values through a moment of silence does not need to violate the first amendment's prohibition on establishing a religion.
All the guns in the world will never "fix" the problem of fear. They will not rescue gun-supporters from a need to live in constant hyper-vigilance against our fellow human beings. In fact, they will result in the opposite: They will only increase violence, threats, fears and cynicism. Idols have a way of doing that.
In the end, I believe that the NRA will find out that the Rev. Canon Gary R. Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral, was correct when he said: "I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby."
We now find ourselves in a liminal space, knowing that this is precisely the time in which we, together, will either effectively address our country's obsession with limitless and needlessly violent weaponry, or slide back into our typically self-focused and detached existence.
Newtown, Tucson, Blacksburg and other communities where gun violence has claimed innocent lives have recently advanced the national discussion on how to curb gun violence, but black colleges have long been the unseen advocacy institutions working to end the same blight.
As Congress now wades into gun control issues in the wake of the Newtown slayings, a broader question becomes to the fore: Does America care enough about its children to do the right thing?
I am encouraging our students to talk vigorously about gun control and then to do something. I am asking them to be activists. I am causing trouble on our campus and it's about time.
First responders must be supported. It's critical that they remain at the top of their game -- for themselves -- and for all of the children and families that count on them during times of trauma.
We, as parents, can play a role in preventing violence at our schools. We are not powerless. We do not have to wait on institutions that are slow-moving and hard to influence -- specifically, the federal government and national media -- to care for America's children.
I hope I won't feel this way every time I leave my children in someone else's care now. I hope this overwhelming anxiety is not the new normal.