Monday, August 4, 2014

Five Desks

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Leadership Boot Camp and I want to tell you about all of it. I want to tell you about the amazing moms that I met that are changing this country. I want to tell you about the survivors I met that carry on and stand up to make my children and your children safer. I want to tell you about the mom that I met whose 14-year-old son was shot and killed but she continues to fight every day and is one of the fiercest, bravest ladies I have met. I want to tell you about what it was like to listen to Richard Martinez speak, the father of Christopher who was shot and killed in Isla Vista earlier this year. I want to tell you about all of it, but I can’t. I can’t make you see this incredible experience through my eyes. I do, however, want to share this. This one moment that I know I will never forget. The moment that I will draw on for strength and for bravery when mine is faltering.

During one of our training sessions, I ended up in a small group with one of the teachers from Sandy Hook.  She teaches second grade. Second grade…the grade that comes after the first. I know that seems like a simple thing to point out, but I mention this because in this case it is not necessarily true. Because on December 14, 2012, 20 first-graders were shot and killed in their classroom. Twenty children never got to the second grade. This teacher had in her classroom two students that escaped that day. They got away when the shooter reloaded. They got to see the second grade. Many didn’t get that chance.

And here is the image that will stay with me. It’s what I have thought about constantly since she shared it. While preparing for the school year, she said, they had to pull five desks out of one of their classrooms.

Five desks. I can’t keep that image out of my head. Five desks. A hole in this classroom that was robbed of five second-graders. Five desks being pushed in a storage closet. And for every desk there is a family, a family that is grieving. Families that should be going into second grade classrooms for parent-teacher conferences, looking at homework, and going to holiday parties, but instead face a lifetime of grief.

Look, I get it. It’s hard to talk about gun violence. It’s not pleasant. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary to have those conversations with people. It’s scary to speak up for what you believe in, but we have a choice to make. We can either be brave and fight for what’s right or we can keep pulling desks out of classrooms. I choose the former.

Not one more empty desk.

3 comments:

  1. You are the most amazing. I'm so proud that you went and learned and were inspired. Thank you for being brave.

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