#MomentofSound is my reaction to gun violence. It came to me on Dec 14, 2016, the four year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, an event which affected me very deeply as a mother of young children and as a teacher. On that morning, during a moment of silence, I felt emotion surge inside of me. It felt at first like anger - but it was mostly fear. Fear for my own kids, for my students and their students, fear that I would regret not adding my voice to this conversation - fear of staying silent.
It was scary to start talking about guns at first, but I wanted to do something -- something that would help keep my kids and students safe, that would honor victims of gun violence, and would help - even in some small way - prevent future tragedies. So I started talking. I added my voice to the conversation on social media, I asked difficult questions when my children were going on playdates, and I educated myself on the issues. When I'd post on social media, I would use the hashtag #momentofsound, which for me defines what needs to happen. No more moments of silence. More moments of sound.
What I have personally learned from some of my interactions on social media is that it is really, really important to push past fear of taking a stand on something so controversial, and to keep talking to people, especially who have different perspectives on guns. I believe to move this forward, we have to end sides, listen to each other, and keep talking. I find it hard to believe that anyone wants this - 307 mass shootings in 2018 alone - and I am buoyed by the conversations, especially ones that stay civil, even when we don't always agree, but can help move us forward.
When I woke up to news of Thousand Oaks, I felt that familiar fear that I first felt after hearing about Sandy Hook and every other mass shooting since then. I wanted to do something more.
I'm an educator and I believe education on this issue matters - and that it will make a difference. The funds from this effort will go to support proactive education initiatives to end gun violence, including the Sandy Hook Promise.
Thanks for listening. Add your voice, too! :)
Elizabeth Stringer Keefe