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Pursuing Happiness Post-Newtown

June 13, 2013
Like so many other Americans, I remember exactly where I was when I learned about the horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. I was home that day in Richmond when my phone rang. It was Lynnette Alameddine on the line. I could tell immediately she was in tears. Lynette and I have cried together before. Her son Ross was murdered during the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. He was just 20 years old. My daughter Emily, who was in the same classroom with Ross that day, was shot twice in the head. But I am blessed. Emily survived and recovered fully from her injuries...
Lori Haas's picture

Love Is a Powerful Thing

June 13, 2013
Love is powerful thing. Just ask Sen. Rob Portman, who put himself at considerable political peril by embracing gay marriage after learning that someone he knows and loves is gay. It is in this light that his recent vote to block common-sense gun violence prevention legislation is so profoundly disturbing. Like Sen. Portman, more and more Americans have come to accept or embrace the idea of gay marriage simply because they know someone who is gay and who deserves to be happy. Is that what it will take to get guns out of the hands of violent criminals? Will we all have to have known and loved...
Carin Benjamin's picture

I Lost All 3 of My Sons Within 6 Years to Senseless Gun Violence

June 13, 2013
I lost all 3 of my sons within 6 years to senseless gun violence. I have no other children of my own. I have been trying for over 20 years to spare other families from experiencing the pain and suffering that I have. I have marched, had vigils, spoke in Washington, Albany, and other cities and states about the impact of gun violence. Gun violence robs the victims and their families of their hopes and dreams. It is a lifetime of suffering for those who are left behind. Sometimes I want to give up, but that still small voice inside of me and the voices of my children will not allow me. OUR MOST...
Frances Davis's picture

My Newtown Moment

June 13, 2013
My Newtown moment came in 1999 as I sat at the funeral of my former basketball coach, Dave Sanders. He was murdered along with 12 students at Columbine High School. It was an overbearingly sad service as I hugged former teachers, faces red and swollen from days of crying. Just like the teachers at Sandy Hook, Dave Sanders died saving lives. Just like the teachers at Sandy Hook, Dave Sanders died a hero. And just like the teachers at Sandy Hook, Dave Sanders never should have died, especially at school. Columbine spurred me into action just like Newtown has for millions of moms around the...
Heidi Yewman's picture

Your Gun Won’t Make Kids Feel Safer

June 13, 2013
When I was ten years old, my parents made the decision to start their own business—a bodega (a small Latin grocery store) in Little Havana, FL. After years as an introverted child, this Cuban stomping ground was where I first came out of my shell. I played with neighboring children, went to Carnival with family, and had my first crush on a boy. When I wasn’t at school I was at the bodega. It became our home in every way, and I felt safer there than I did in the Miami Dade suburbs. On one Friday night, my Mom got my older sister and I ready to go home while my father stayed to finish some work...
Nina Perez's picture

For Newtown, Moms unite to making this country safer

June 13, 2013
I am a mom from Newtown, and my younger daughter is six years old. Before December 14, 2012, I would have described myself differently: political moderate, high school science teacher. But in the six months since that terrible day, when 20 of my daughter’s peers and six of her teacher’s colleagues were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, right down the road from my daughter’s own school, being a Newtown mom seems to overshadow everything else about me. I am raising my family in a place that exemplifies America’s most chilling truth. Everything we value most: our children, our families,...
Katherine Doerr Morosky's picture

Losing a Child to Gun Violence Changes Everything

June 12, 2013
On November 28, 2012, my life changed forever. I lost my youngest child – a son – to gun violence. He was 26-years-old, married, and had a two-year-old daughter with another little girl on the way. I don’t know all the details surrounding his death, only that he was leaving a corner store in Oakland, California, with a friend, and that they were both gunned down. My son’s friend survived his gunshot wounds while my son died from his. Just two weeks ago, a suspect was apprehended in San Jose, California, where he had an altercation with a security guard. The suspect has been arraigned, charged...
Marilu Garcia's picture

Our Brothers’ Keeper

June 12, 2013
In the third chapter of Genesis, after the proverbial “Fall” of humanity, two brothers stand in a field. Cain is a farmer—Abel, a herdsman. Both bring offerings from their labor to God, but Abel brings his first fruits, so God looks on Abel’s offering with delight. In a jealous rage Cain rises up against Abel and kills him. This is the first recorded murder in the Bible. (Genesis 4:8) I will never forget walking onto the National Mall early on the morning of April 11, 2013. As I approached a mass of people and television cameras between the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building I was...
Lisa Sharon Harper's picture

Gun Violence, Honesty, and Responsibility

June 12, 2013
We can make America safer. But first, we need an honest conversation about the unacceptable current level of gun violence; and we must acknowledge that reducing firearms injuries and deaths is our shared responsibility. Too often, our values of liberty and safety are pitted against one another. Simply, this is a false choice; we can pursue and protect both. For the sake of our nation and the families that see sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers taken every day, we must have an honest conversation free of hyperbole and hysteria and a serious public policy discussion aimed at reducing...
Rabbi Steve Gutow's picture

Keeping Our Babies Safe

June 12, 2013
I vividly remember the day my son was born, almost 24 years ago. A fleeting, but frightening thought seeped into my hopes and dreams for my beautiful baby boy—“How will I keep you safe from going to war?” The Vietnam War, with images of killing fields and the gruesome draft was the reality of my younger years. Our generation of parents has been lucky, killer drafts have not touched our babies. But guns have. When my son was 16, one Sunday afternoon we went to the local mall to buy him jeans at the Gap. At the time, he had just gotten his learner’s permit, so I reluctantly handed over the keys...
Ronnie Citron-Fink's picture