Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, a lot of conversation has taken place on how to prevent such unthinkable acts and the other nearly 500,000 acts of gun violence committed each year in our country. Some change has happened, but not nearly enough. Some Americans have joined the conversation, but not nearly enough. Sandy Hook Promise believes it is time to reset this conversation; away from polarizing inaction and anger, and towards sensible action and love. Reset it to hear from more Americans, especially those who share a common bond. And to hear from more Americans from all sides of the issue.
Over the last year, Sandy Hook Promise has had conversations with hundreds of parents across the country -- parents who are gun owners and non-gun owners, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, people of many faiths, and across the economic spectrum. We learned, not surprisingly, that a parent’s love and concern for their children comes before everything, including their politics. That parents – both gun owners and non-gun owners -- want to act now, in their communities, to help prevent gun violence.
Sandy Hook Promise is embracing what we learned and has launched Parent Together – a nationwide campaign that educates and empowers parents, who place their children’s safety and wellbeing above all else, to make changes in their community to help prevent not just the next Sandy Hook but also the hundreds of thousands of other acts of gun violence every year in every state.
Sandy Hook Promise will begin to roll out proven tools and programs for parents that initially focus in the areas of mental wellness, healthy development, community connectedness and gun safety. These tools and programs will be used by parents to help prevent gun violence within their homes, their schools, their communities and ultimately, our nation. Parent Together will also empower and foster local conversations and locally developed solutions to prevent gun violence – true change needs to come from each and every parent.
How Does It Work?
Step 1: Establish and Organize Promise Communities
When you Make the Promise to Parent Together, you will have the opportunity to establish and organize a Promise Community where you live. Sandy Hook Promise will then help you, via online tools, to organize friends, neighbors, organizations and schools together to help raise awareness and educate your community on gun violence, including setting up events with families who lost loved ones who work with Sandy Hook Promise to come to your community to speak. Once organized, you will be able to begin to share tools and programs (see next step) to help prevent gun violence in your community – today. Note - Sandy Hook Promise will be reaching out to people who have Made the Promise in early 2014 to ask if they would like to establish and organize a Promise Community.
Step 2: Provide Proven Tools and Programs
Sandy Hook Promise has identified proven tools and programs for parents. Initially we will focus in the areas of mental wellness, healthy development, community connectedness and gun safety. These tools and programs will be rolled out in stages and used by parents within their homes, their schools, their communities and ultimately, our nation. This approach and similar programs have been used by other very successful groups and programs - such as efforts to reduce drunk driving, promote recycling and reduce smoking - and created real change in our country by starting at a community level with focused programs. Parent Together will now do the same.
Tools and programs will be rolled out in early 2014 starting with mental wellness, healthy development and community connectedness. Gun safety initiatives will follow as we finalize our gun owner advisory board and work with organizations passionate about gun safety education.
Step 3: Mobilize Promise Communities to Support Sensible Solutions to Prevent Gun Violence
When you Parent Together you have the opportunity to come together as a community or with other communities to promote non-policy tools and programs as well as support passage of state and federal laws. Sandy Hook Promise will help when needed in educating, promoting, mobilizing and acting outside of your community.
Please note - Sandy Hook Promise has always, and will always, support the 2nd Amendment. We do not just say it – we mean it. Our organization stays above the politics and only pursues sensible policy solutions that do not infringe upon the rights of gun owners. We do not support how gun owners have been portrayed as villains – they are parents too who want to protect their children and families. We know a vast majority want sensible policy solutions, but we also know that many want solutions that do not involve new laws. Parent Together brings both owners and non-owners together to support these solutions.
We are very confident that Parent Together will have a real and lasting change in our communities and our nation. We know parents united by love can do anything. We have to start somewhere and we want to start with reminding people that their love for their children can overcome anything. It can sweep away the sense of hopelessness, and it can remind us that what’s most important is our children’s safety and we can do something about that. By having tools and programs in communities TODAY, we can start to protect our children even more and help prevent gun violence.