My heart breaks for the voices that were silenced on that awful day in Newtown, Connecticut. Faced with this tragedy, I could not help but also think of my own students, the members of the Young Playwrights’ Workshop. They too are a community of learners, they too are young people with something vital to contribute to our society. I invited my students to write letters to the Newtown community in the hopes that their words could be of some small comfort, that they could use their artistic gifts to shine some small light in the face of such terrible darkness.
Below are some of the thoughts they wanted to share.
“This is a week filled with sorrow, a week that will be remembered. On Friday, December 14, 2012 around 9:00am, a man went into a school and took the lives of twenty beautiful angels. My heart goes out to all the people in Newtown, but especially to the parents. This deranged man may have taken the lives of your children, but he will never remove the cherished moments each of you spent with them.”
“I am deeply sorry for your loss. I know that it hurts to know that maybe some of your friends, siblings, or teachers were taken away from you in this tragic event. I just want you to know that they are not gone. They are still with you in spirit. Their lives and legacy are still alive. May God bless you and help you in this time of need.”
“I haven’t lost a child or anyone in a shooting, but I know how it is to lose someone. I don’t know how hard it is for you but just know that the whole community who saw the news knows about your loss. Your child will always be remembered.”
“I write this letter to all the parents who have lost their children to try to give my support to you here from Washington, DC. All I can say is that I am sorry for what happened because no one deserves what they did to your kids.”
“We are here today recovering from a horrible incident that has occurred. The environment that feeds the young innocent lives, where the beginning of education starts to exist, is now suffering from the loss of many whom we all are mourning on the inside for. We all deeply apologize for the loss of so many and the pain you must be suffering from.”
“I understand how it feels to lose someone very close to you. It really hurts, I know…You have to keep staying strong and keep yourself going. Always keep your loved ones in your heart and keep going in life.”
“I just wanted to say some words that came from my heart. I just want to say that…I heard what happened in the city of Newtown, Connecticut, in the school Sandy Hook Elementary…I know it’s not easy for none of you: parents, husbands, friends, families. Losing someone you cared and known for quite a while…I’m sorry and may God bless you.”
– (Student preferred to be anonymous)
“As the days roll by and the years become old you will realize that the people you lost would have not have left you but are still there right beside you always…Be hopeful because when the day comes you will realize that the world is vast and there are many others who share your pain. Be strong, Connecticut.”
“It hurts me so bad that I can’t do anything in my power to commiserate with the families of the loved ones. Even though I don’t know what you guys must be feeling, I can understand. I just wish that nothing else like this ever happens. We will all be praying with you guys and wish you all the best.”