(NEW YORK) — One month prior to the first anniversary of the shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators, a group of parents have a message: it’s time to parent together.
Sandy Hook Promise, an organization formed by community members that includes relatives of the victims of the Dec. 14, 2012 tragedy, kicked off their Parent Together campaign Thursday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“It’s as simple as going to the website, SandyHookPromise.org, and making the promise to parent together. And by making that promise, you become part of a national community of parents who are committed to putting their children’s lives first,” Nicole Hockley, who lost her son, Dylan, told GMA’s Lara Spencer.
Parents from across the country have already signed the pledge, with celebrities also raising their hands in full support. Sandy Hook Promise on Thursday released a public service announcement featuring Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Rico Rodriguez and Nolan Gould from ABC’s Modern Family and the star of ABC’s Mistresses, Alyssa Milano.
“It’s a promise. It’s a commitment to say it doesn’t matter what your politics are, what your religion is, what your financial situation is. It’s basically saying all of our differences don’t matter if we put our children first,” said Hockley. “That’s the way to start having real conversation and make change.”
In the months since the tragedy, parents from the Sandy Hook community headed to Washington, D.C., lobbying to create comprehensive gun legislation. Since gun control legislation failed to pass the U.S. Senate last April, Sandy Hook Promise families are redirecting their efforts, working with lawmakers to focus now on mental health legislation — a key part of their original bill supported by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and passed with a Senate vote of 95 to 2, yet which went no where since the overall bill failed.
“I will do whatever it takes to keep another father from having to go down this road of loss and despair and grief,” David Wheeler, who lost his son, Ben, told Spencer.
In the eyes of these parents, Parent Together is the campaign that should continue for all parents to have the conversation not just with their own children but other parents to ensure there will not be another tragedy like the one that took their children. Each time there is a shooting incident, it takes Hockley and Wheeler right back to Dec. 14, 2013.
“When that happens, your heart bleeds because you remember exactly what it was like for you. And it’s tragic that anyone else has to continue to feel this way when we do have the power to make these changes happen and prevent it,” Hockley said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Robynn Garfield, KSL.com
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News