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An open letter to everyone affected by the Sandy Hook School shooting

To the families, teachers, and administrators of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the community of Newtown, Conn.:

There are no sufficient words to express our condolences, our grief and our compassion for your loss, yet we wanted to write to you to assure you that you are all in our thoughts, hearts and in our prayers.

The American Friends Service Committee was founded in 1917 to provide material aid to families who were struggling to live through World War I in hope that this small service might contribute to building a peaceful world. The AFSC continued this work through both World Wars and onto today in a commitment to find ways to work with communities who are recovering from violence. 

One of our early programs was a feeding program for children who were displaced by war. In our offices we have framed crayon drawings made by these children. These drawings are of people helping others and of the peaceful world that the children were dreaming of. Over the past week, these drawings and photographs from over 60 years ago have taken a new significance for us because the stories that you have released about your beautiful children, their loves and their vision of the world, have put us in mind of these children we were blessed to serve so many years ago. 

Looking into the faces of your loved ones, we have renewed our commitment to work together to build a world where children, their families and their communities can rely on an enduring peace. 

So, in this time of loss and grief, we are committed to walk with you as you heal. We also assure you we will work tirelessly to build that peaceful world that we all envision.

In deepest sympathy,
Keith Harvey, Regional Executive Director on behalf of the Staff and Volunteers of AFSC's Northeast Region

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