Gala honors nonprofit turning grief over Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting into action

Josh Einiger Image
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Gala honors group that turned grief into action after school massacre
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Former President Obama joined families in Manhattan Tuesday night to honor Sandy Hook Promise, a group that emerged from the shock of the elementary school massacre. Josh Einiger has more.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Families were joined by former President Barack Obama at a gala in New York City to promote and honor the work of a non-profit group founded by families of those massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary nearly 10 years ago.

It's been almost a decade, but it feels like yesterday.

December 14 will mark 10 years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 first graders and six adults, in one of America's deadliest and most infamous mass shootings.

"I have to honor my son that died while protecting my son that lived, and any parent is gonna do that for her child," said Nicole Hockney, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise.

After all this time, Hockney hasn't stopped fighting.

She's one of the founders of Sandy Hook Promise, the non-profit organization that emerged from the shock of that day. Since then, it has prevented so much more inconceivable bloodshed.

"We've stopped almost 11 school shootings and almost 400 kids from suicide," Hockney said.

In a Midtown ballroom on Tuesday night, they remembered those lost, and celebrated those still here.

Thanks to training, the organization sponsors around the country to teach millions of kids how to spot a friend in crisis and stop an attack before it happens.

WATCH | Disney CEO Bob Iger honored at Sandy Hook Promise benefit

"I consider December 14, 2012, the single darkest day of my presidency," former President Barack Obama said.

Obama paid tribute Tuesday night to the families from Newtown who turned their grief into action.

He lamented that more tangible change on gun violence still eludes a blood-soaked country.

"In 2022, there hasn't been a single week. Not one. Without a mass shooting somewhere in America," Obama said. "Outside a handful of failed stated we are unique among nations in tolerating the proliferation of guns on our streets and allowing civilians to routinely purchase high-powered weapons of war."

But Sandy Hook Promise is about what can be done.

They've trained 18 million American kids in anti-violence programs, and they plan to train 25 million more.

Ten years later, they insist there is hope.

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