(NEW YORK) — On the one-month anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the parents of Anna Marquez Greene, one of the 20 children killed during the attack, are working to start a national dialogue through the non-profit group Sandy Hook Promise.
Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene spoke of their grief for their little girl, and honored her memory.
“She was kind, she was loving, she was smart — and she was also a fashionista — she loved those gaudy flowers. I’m wearing it for her today,” Marquez-Greene said, referring to her flower headwear. “We’re hoping that through Sandy Hook Promise, we can bring awareness to issues, and start a conversation based on love and respect.”
The non-profit, which was formed in the days following the Dec. 14 shooting under the original name Newtown United, asks people to sign a pledge to “encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence.”
Tom Bittman, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, said the group aims to get past the polarization that the shooting has caused in the national debate.
“We need to approach it differently,” Bittman said on GMA. “We need a national conversation on the things that need to change, so that this doesn’t happen again. We think it’s holistic, we don’t think it’s one piece of legislation and one change. We think it’s going to be a number of things.”
Greene said that he agrees that a multi-faceted approach is ideal.
“I don’t think it’s wise to focus on one thing,” he said. “Obviously we need to make our schools, our streets, our malls, our public places safer. Obviously there needs to be a better discussion on mental health, and access to it.”
Speaking of her daughter — who caught the nation’s attention in a video where she sang “Come Thou Almighty King” while her 9-year-old brother Isaiah played the piano — Marquez-Greene said that she wants her work now to be a tribute to her little girl.
“[She was] passionate, she was abut loving God and loving people, and I hope that that can be the legacy that we leave,” she said. “That love wins, and that love will prevail in this.”
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