The Painting Table allowed the citizens of Newtown to explore grief and hope -- without boundaries. When hurt is shared, even if it is with paints or canvas, healing can begin.
Grace Audrey McDonnell didn't have an ounce of hate in her. She was the light and the love of her family. She was Chris and Lynn's daughter and Jack's little sister. She was a granddaughter, a friend and loved by many. But to me, she will always be, simply Grace of my heart.
For a few months after Sandy Hook, it looked like the government was going to pass a new gun control law, specifically aimed at keeping guns out of the "wrong" hands. How is it that a majority of Americans now believe gun laws should be weakened or remain the same?
The young man that stormed Sandy Hook School that cold December morning last year was the kid that sat alone at the lunch table. I can't help but wonder if someone, anyone, had gone over to him and asked: "Would you like to join us?"
We should be able to say something meaningful to the parents of Newtown; we should be able to show them how the deaths of their children moved us to action.
I've struggled to find ways to discuss the issue of gun violence and gun control with friends and family members who have equally strong, but opposing views on the issue. I know I'm not alone in this.
It has been one year since I saw my sweet little Emilie. I will be honest, I hate when the media comes into town. I don't like seeing their vans with large satellite dishes parked on every corner. I don't like seeing my daughter's picture on the news associated with her violent death.
As I see it, Alissa and her husband Robbie are bestowing a priceless gift. They remind us that as long as our little ones are alive and well, there are things we can do to better protect them.
I'm writing Jesse's words into the margins of my Bible next to Psalm 146. His words are an invitation to live differently than the way our culture pushes us to exist. His words make sense when I read them alongside this ancient text of Psalm 146.
As the events at Sandy Hook Elementary unfolded last year, I and the other mothers of America were given an ultimatum: Act now to reduce gun violence in America or sit by as these senseless tragedies continue to occur in our communities. We chose to act.
It does take courage to live with faith and conviction in a society where children lose their lives, where young people go hungry and live in poverty, where senseless violence plagues us. But it's the only answer. Our actions and our words are the only way to push back.
The day had gone from being a routine December Friday in a historic and ornamented slice of CT, to a frenzy of standstill traffic, hovering helicopters palatable anxiety, and a swarm of media lining the narrow Sandy Hook sidewalks; the glow of holiday decorations all but obliterated by the harsh glare of their television lights.
The public is owed more information. We all want to know if there were opportunities to forestall such a gruesome tragedy. At the same time, we need to ensure that his story does not provide an insupportable platform for demonizing those with a mental illness.
A larger question that the release of the tapes raises -- given that their exposure clearly comes with a price -- indeed any coverage of such incidents does -- is what ultimately can and should come of it.
On the morning of Dec. 14, 2012 inside the walls of Sandy Hook Elementary, our school endured a tragedy beyond comprehension. 26 lives were taken far too soon, senselessly and brutally. In the midst of such unimaginable loss, loss that could have very well been the loss of my own life, I had to find meaning again.
As a society we do not emphasize enough the important role that parents play in the lives of children. Let's get back to basics: parents.