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reflections of grief

Most likely everything that can be said about Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut has been said. Since Friday, I have been weighed down with a sadness that is punctuated by moments of extreme anger and disgust.

There are candlelight vigils to attend and petitions to sign, but nothing will undo what has already been done. As singer-songwriter Cheryl Wheeler sings below, “If it were up to me, I’d take away the guns.”

Right now, though, the one thing that has made me feel better at all, besides signing petitions and communicating with my own kids, has been to give money to organizations that advocate for children. There are plenty of them out there, but here are two that are near and dear to me.

Mom’s Clean Air Force: Like the proliferation of guns in our society, clean air is a public health issue. Air pollution hurts the most vulnerable among us. By pulling together the voices of mothers, fathers, and other engaged citizens, this organization works to counteract the lobbyists in Washington who fight for polluters’ right to dirty our air. The site provides up-to-date information and lists ways we can act in the interests of ourselves and our children.

Donate now, and for every tax-deductible dollar you donate by January 1, 2013, a dedicated funder will provide two additional dollars tripling your gift.

The Strong Kids Program at the McBurney YMCA in New York. I have a special interest in this program. My younger son taught these kids life skills for several years, helping them learn how to advocate for themselves, and my older son has done some academic tutoring there.  I was often privy to dinner table discussions about how much potential each of these kids—who hail from every borough in the city—have, and how, with some consistent, adult attention, their lives could be improved.

Click here to donate.

“Do we have the courage to stop this?” asks Nicholas Kristof in his column in today’s New York Times, where he makes an excellent case for gun regulationI hope we do. And I hope that our leaders will exhibit the kind of heroism we need right now, and stand up to, and defy the all-powerful gun lobby.