By Porsche Seals, Executive Director

May 21, 2022 – a day I will never forget. It was the day my beautiful, intelligent, theatrical, strong willed, witty, future chemist and oldest daughter graduated from high school. It made us all so proud. My husband, our two daughters and son, two sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles watch her graduate in person and virtually, with overwhelming joy.

May 24, 2022 – a day I will never forget. A gunman goes into Robb Elementary School of Uvalde, TX, and guns down 19 students and 2 teachers. These children will never walk the stage and their parents will never experience the overwhelming joy I felt only two days prior. I begin to weep. Then I weep more. I fall asleep only to rise again and weep.

To date, there have been 267 mass shootings in our country. 164 children between the ages of 0-11 have been killed along with another 593 young people between the ages of 12-17 as a result of this violence, according to https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/. My graduate is 17. My other children are 16, 15, and 11. Sadly, the children at Robb Elementary were between the ages of 9-11 years old. These could have been my children, your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or even mentees.

The gunman was 18 years old. So many questions go through my head. Could we have mentored him, invited him to church, took him on a camping trip or had him over for dinner? I do not have answers, probably just more questions, but we must not let this be another news story.

Honestly, I wish Sandy Hook Elementary (2012) would have been the alarm or Virginia Tech College (2007), Stoneman Douglas High (2018), or even Columbine High (1999). Please do not continue to let their deaths be in vain. We must understand that they belong to someone. They belong to me, they belong to you, they belong to us.

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