There is a saying that every dark cloud has a silver lining. In the context of the deaths of 20 innocent children and their teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, it is hard to fathom how that could be true.
Yet in the wake of that horrific day, I have witnessed countless inspiring acts of charity, compassion and kindness that have strengthened my faith in the power and importance of our mission at the United Way: together, we can make a difference.
From this tragedy, the importance of community, faith and volunteerism has been reinforced, time and time again. We have received more than $8.5 million in donations from around the world for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Volunteers have staffed phones and warehouses, neighbors have cooked meals, thousands of notes of comfort have been sent to Newtown from all over the world — and no doubt we have all hugged our children a little tighter.
We have been reminded that there is no substitute for human connection. So much of our lives today happen online. But in time of our greatest need, we came together in shared spaces, at vigils and memorials across the community and the nation, to grieve and comfort one another.
We also have learned that we cannot sweep our social problems under the rug without consequence.
Moving forward, we must find a way to incorporate the lessons we have learned, and continue to learn, into our daily lives. Not only to prevent future tragedies and to honor the memories of those we lost on that fateful day, but also because they are the keys to unlocking our true potential, as individuals and a community.
I’m not sure I would call that a silver lining, but I am hopeful that we can shine light into in the shadow of this tragedy, as we can continue working together to improve lives and strengthen our communities.
Chief Executive Officer
United Way of Western Connecticut