A mother whose child was murdered in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has spoken out in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose daughter Anna Grace was among the 26 people who died in the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, took to her Facebook page to organize the Anna Grace Project aimed at teaching empathy and promoting healthy communities – and parents spoke to Robb Elementary School to share the news of the shooting with their children.
“The way you tell your children about current events and tragedies – the way you explain them – is almost as important as the news,” she writes. “Your children will take their cues from you. They need to know that they are safe with you. It’s a scary thing, and considering everything that’s going on in the world, it feels like a lie. But that’s our job as parents. Believe me, as a mother and a mental health professional, I have to tell you the worst news. Take care of yourself, parent/caregiver. And then talk to your child/ren – the young person you care about.”
Shortly after the shooting, Márquez-Greene advised parents to limit social media and provide their children with age-appropriate information, while “doing something fun, connecting with people and being grateful that you still can.”
“Following my own advice,” she continued, “I did everything on this list and then transferred a dollar to (my son) Isaiah’s account and instructed him to order some delicious dinners for himself and his school BFF. Isaiah, make great memories today. Creating all the memories.”
For those who don’t have children, Márquez-Greene said there are other ways to show support.
“Find a gun violence survivor in your area and send them dinner. Send cards. Check. Don’t forget Buffalo,” she wrote of the supermarket shooting that occurred earlier this month.
She concluded, “Teachers. Educators. Rational, caring human beings: I’m really sorry. Once. We failed. My ability to do this, to deliver this message to you today, is a testament to the support of our community, my commitment and your prayers. Are you saying you’ve been trying to get me to do this? It’s a national disgrace. Pray for these families.”
Márquez-Greene is just one of many calling for action in the wake of another shooting in the United States. Matthew McConaughey of Uvalde shared an open letter on social media about the murders, urging Americans to “reassess, renegotiate our needs from the needs” and “find common ground on this catastrophic American reality, which has tragically become a problem for our children.”
“This is an epidemic that we can control, and no matter what side we are on, we know we can do better. We must do better,” he continued. “Action must be taken so that no parent experiences the pain that Uvalde’s parents and the parents before them experienced.”