Friday, December 14, 2012, will forever remain one of the most heinous days in American history.
It is the day that the lives 20 children and six adults were taken in one nightmarish bloodbath of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Today, exactly five years after the mass shooting, the victims’ families still bear the scars of losing their precious loved ones.
For some, it is still as though it happened only yesterday.
But in their sorrow, some of these grieving parents are making an effort to turn their pain into purpose by starting a new initiative to prevent school shootings.
Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel, and Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan, have co-founded an operation called Sandy Hook Promise with several other families who lost loved ones on that fateful day.
Their goal is to prevent mass school shootings, not through legislation, but rather through thwarting the path of a would-be shooter by equipping students and teachers with the resources they need. Since gun regulation is too controversial, they’ve found that this is the most effective way to take action against school gun violence.
“There’s so much of a fight that occurs whenever you mention the word ‘gun,’ and we need to reframe this conversation,” says Nicole. “[We need to] take the gun out of the discussion and focus on ‘What do we need to do to keep each other and our kids safe?’”
“After every shooting or every suicide, there are signs and signals given off in advance,” she adds.
Through the use of PSAs and grassroots efforts, Sandy Hook Promise is on a mission to teach schools the warning signs so they can stop the shooting before it starts.
“I know so many people feel that same sense of hopelessness that it keeps happening,” says Nicole. “But then I have to channel that frustration, that anger, but also my love, into this work that I know is going to save lives.”
(Nicole and son, Dylan)
And she’s doing exactly that.
Thus far, Sandy Hook Promise has trained 2.5 million students and teachers across the country, and they’ve already heard success stories of foiling the plans of shooters.
Watch the ABC News exclusive below to learn more about this life-saving grassroots effort, and visit Sandy Hook Promise today to learn more about how you can be a part of ending gun violence in America’s schools.