December 14th marks the seventh anniversary of Sandy Hook. These anniversaries come fast and furious. Name the event and the date comes to mind. Sandy Hook – 12/14, Parkland – 2/14, Columbine 4/20 are just a few of the hundreds, yes, hundreds of mass school shootings that have happened in our country. To be specific, there have been more than 230 school shootings since Columbine.
I connected with Nelba Marquez-Greene on Twitter. She is the mother of Ana Grace, who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Following the shooting, Nelba, who is a family therapist, reframed her unimaginable grief into a movement that promotes connectivity and acceptance. The essence of Nelba’s message is that “Love Wins” and her organization is called The Ana Grace Project https://anagraceproject.org/
Nelba and I connected over a Tweet that she posted asking those who want to work with victims of gun violence to be mindful of sensitive dates. The message caught my attention, my heart ached for her grief and wondered why she even had to state such an obvious request.
This is the Tweet:
“And be mindful of asks around sensitive times” made me think about how painful those days are year and after year. Time does not heal anything, in my experience, it actually magnifies the loss. Through the Ana Grace Project, Nelba has created a movement to promote healthy communities through the concept that:
Love wins. (It also saves lives.)
This brings us to the significance of December 13th and why that date is most important to Nelba. You see, this was the last full day that her daughter was alive. The evening of December 13, 2012, was a happy, relaxed and family filled night of play and connection. Her family was intact, her husband, son Isaiah, and daughter Ana Grace, were together for an evening of gratitude when time stood still. Everything would change the next day.
Nelba is devoted to ensuring her son Isaiah grows up in an environment where “Love Wins,” a family motto, even beyond the unimaginable loss of Ana Grace.
“That is my job on the planet. If I do nothing else but raise a son who is able to survive this tragedy and still come out able to love and receive love from others, that will be our greatest victory,”
This year December 13th is being turned into a day of giving. The Love Wins Community Drive is a collaboration between The Ana Grace Project and Central Connecticut State University. The readers of this blog can also participate in the event through donating to this cause.