In the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, moms are holding their children closer and wondering what to do. The event left many feeling powerless, but it’s important for mothers to remember that when we come together we are an unstoppable force. There are so many moms working, in so many ways, to stop school shootings and make our kids safer.
Moms are supporting each other
When Nicole Hockley heard what was happening in Parkland, Florida she raced towards the pain, not away from it, because as a mother of a school shooting victim herself, she knew she could be of service to other parents. .
“If they want to speak to me tomorrow, two weeks, two months, two years from now, I'm always open for that,” Hockley told Florida Today before her flight to the grieving state.
Her son, Dylan, was among the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. She is now the Managing Director at Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit founded by several Sandy Hook family members dedicated to protecting kids from further acts of violence.
“It hasn’t stopped and that is so frustrating,” Hockley told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Hockley says she believes the stopping school shootings isn’t about taking guns away from Americans, but about making sure certain individuals who are at risk for committing violence don’t have access.
She is advocating for Extreme Risk Protection Orders, a legal process that can temporarily separate people from their weapons if there is a concern about their mental wellbeing, and she hopes more supports are created to help communities intervene and help troubled individuals before they commit acts of violence.
“It's a state-led legislation only currently in four states,” she said on MSNBC. “Nineteen other states are looking at it. Florida needs this. First, we need to teach people how to know these signs, how do you recognize it, and then an ERPO can ensure there's a due process in place to ensure that those signs are then acted on.”
Moms are marching
Hockley is far from the only mom asking Florida’s government to act on gun violence issues.
Members of Moms Demand Action matched on Florida’s state capital, calling on officials to address gun violence, USA Today reports.
The organization was founded by mom of five Shannon Watts in 2012 the day after the inconceivably horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. What started that day as a simple Facebook page fueled by a stay-at-home mom’s fury has become a a not-for-profit with chapters around the nation.
“We are tired of the inaction of our elected leaders on common sense policies and bills supported by the majority of people,” Katie Kile, the leader of the Tallahassee chapter, said Thursday. “This is not a partisan issue. There’s a lot of middle ground there.”
Kile was among the red-clad MDA members matching at the Florida legislature, calling for tougher background checks for firearms purchasers.
"We certainly support anyone who wants to pray, but our prayers don't stop with words. You can have prayers and legislative action,” Kile said.
Moms are getting loud
Friday should have been a normal morning for Lori Alhadeff and her family. Her daughter Alyssa should have been heading off to school, but instead, Alhadeff was headed to her child’s funeral.
She spoke to CNN beforehand, raising her voice for the second time in two days.
“We need security now for all these children. We need Action, Action, Action!”
Moms are calling their representatives
Across the country many other moms are feeling Alhadeff’s pain, and are calling for action, too, phoning and emailing pleas to their representatives to seek solutions that will make children safer in their classrooms.
Whether they’re advocating for changes to gun access, or calling for more support for mental health interventions, moms across the country are making sure that their voices are being heard.
We teach our children to work together in their classroom, and parents are working together to make sure those classrooms are safer.