Ten years ago, our Post University community was rocked when a lone gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in nearby Newtown. One of the educators murdered was Rachel D’Avino, a Waterbury native who earned her master’s from our institution. We mourned with Rachel’s family, and we resolved to support activities that could prevent future senseless tragedies.
Then, in 2018, we witnessed the second deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook when 17 students and faculty lost their lives at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We thought; “Surely, this incident will be the last. Our country won’t stand for any more school shootings.”
But yesterday, in a small southern Texas town, we witnessed the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook. As news reports continue to surface, every community impacted by gun violence is forced to relive the worst day in their own history. The rising death toll causes a ripple effect of grief and resurfaced trauma through every Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas, Columbine, and Virginia Tech family.
These senseless acts are devastating, confusing, inexplicable, and infuriating. There have been 212 mass shootings in the United States this year. The Buffalo supermarket shooting, where 10 people lost their lives, occurred only 10 days ago.
As president and CEO of our Post community, my job is to provide a safe environment where you can learn, teach or work. That responsibility weighs heavily on me today. Whether you are part of our on-campus community, one of the 1,600 Eagles living in Texas, or an international student, know that your well-being will always be my first priority. If you find yourself struggling with yesterday’s events, know you are not alone and the well-being of every one of you matters deeply to me. I encourage you to utilize your SOAR resources or log into [email protected] for guidance.
For measurable action to occur, we must consider the role we can each play – as a member of our community and as advocates for gun reform, equality, mental health, and safety measures. Throughout the coming weeks, seek out ways to serve as an agent of change: help the victims of yesterday’s attack, join the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, or create meaningful conversations with your friends and family.
It is up to us to ensure their lives were not lost in vain. We also cannot fear next week. It’s time for us to learn from the past, lift the anchor that binds us to the past, and engage the possibilities for tomorrow. We can create the America in which we want to live; a place of equality, kindness, acceptance, and peace. I know our Eagle community can help make it happen.
Today I have a heavy heart, but I’m also filled with optimism for the possibilities around our imagined future.
Warmest personal regards,