There are no words for the senseless deaths of nineteen children and two teachers in Uvalde. But yet, I struggle to find them. Perhaps you do too.
My heart sinks, and my stomach lurches. The feeling is eerily and sickeningly familiar. Pearl, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland—so many others in between—are moments of horror and unspeakable loss.
Indeed, thoughts and prayers are not enough, but that doesn't mean they are not valuable. May we hold each person who died in our hearts, think about what they meant to their families and friends, and treasure their uniqueness when we see their pictures and hear their names. Let's say their names too, and let's share our prayers, love, and heartfelt angst and sympathy with their families. It is not nearly enough, but it is a start.
It is so big and scary to think of how to be there for our children and help them feel safe—or if we can. It can feel like a drop of comfort in an ocean of pain, but we've included some resources for helping our children.
As an organization, Families as Allies is committed to working with families, youth, our community and policymakers to help schools be safe and to address gun violence. We welcome all families to be part of that discussion as it unfolds.
For now, we respectfully urge everyone to be careful with how we talk about mental illness. There is something wrong with someone who guns down other people. We all know that. But that is not the same thing as having a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. To confuse the two things mischaracterizes and creates prejudice against people with mental illness. People with mental illness are no more likely to be violent than people without mental illness.
We also know that children and youth who have violent thoughts or aggressive behavior can often benefit from mental health support. We will stand with you and help you find support for your child if you are worried about them. If your child is in crisis, we encourage you to contact crisis services through the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.
Standing together with all of you for all of our children,