The Lookout

Parents of Sandy Hook victims launch #1MillionHearts campaign for Valentine’s Day

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Lookout

A girl attempts to keep candles lit at a memorial outside Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Dylan Stableford)

Sandy Hook Promise—the organization formed last month to honor the 20 children and six adults killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings—has launched a social media campaign for Valentine's Day to mark the two-month anniversary of the massacre.

The group, which includes dozens of parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, is asking supporters to send virtual Valentines on Feb. 14 using the hashtag #1MillionHearts.

Participants can share the messages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest from a page on the group's website.

Alyssa Milano, rapper will.i.am and Jennifer Hudson—who performed at the Super Bowl with a Newtown children's choir—are among the celebrities who have already pledged their support for the #1MillionHearts initiative from their Twitter feeds.

"I'm sending a valentine to #Newtown with #1MillionHearts for @SandyHook," Hudson tweeted. "Join me."

Lee Shull, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, said Valentine's Day "seemed natural to create a special way for Americans to continue channeling their love and support."

[Related: Parents of Sandy Hook victims speak, urging ‘real change’]

"With Valentine's Day marking the two month anniversary, we felt the need to do something to keep the 20 children and six educators who were lost in America's hearts," Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Tim Makris told Yahoo News.

Last month, the group held an emotional press conference in Newtown to promote a national dialogue on gun violence, mental health and school safety.

"This is a promise to do everything in our power to be remembered not as the town filled with grief and victims but as a place where real change began," Nelba Márquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter Ana was killed in the Dec. 14 shooting, said.

The group stopped short of taking sides in the gun-control debate.

"Some of us are gun owners," Tom Bittman, another co-founder of the initiative, said. "We hunt, target shoot, protect our homes. We teach our sons and daughters how to use guns safely. [But] we're not afraid of a discussion about responsibility and accountability. The bottom line is we must act. We can't let this happen again. Doing nothing is no longer an option."

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