This morning I was awoken by sounds of a nine month baby boy trying to learn how to talk. Before the sun shed her glory upon this great nation and through my bedroom windows, I could hear sounds emulating from the room next door. da da da da da da. ma ma ma ma ma ma. ba ba te ta te ta. Like the many days I’ve heard these odd sounds before, I lie still in our bed and listen, quietly. Hoping to get an extra five minutes of sleep, I let the young boy sing his song loudly. The delicate music that awakes me every morning is sung by my son, Mateo Ali. And when I enter his room to hear his concert, the glorious music puts a big smile on his daddy’s face. An absolute perfect way to start the day.
On December 14, 2012, the day started perfectly for twenty six families in Newtown, Connecticut. At 9:35AM a dark cloud began to hover over a small elementary school at the end of a long road, called Sandy Hook. A rain of bullets came pouring down, smothering the beautiful voices of twenty children and six of their protectors. These children were small. Five years old small and six years old small. Fighting helplessly against a gun that was almost bigger than them. Some took three bullets to die. Some took eleven. But they all eventually went silent.
We promised. We made promises. This was it. This was the breaking point. This was the point of no return. This was as bad as it ever could get. How could we let this happen? To children. To five year old children. To six year old children. To their protectors. We all cried. We all screamed. We all fell to our knees. In prayer. In silence. In devastation. And promised that this would never happen again. Whatever conversation we had avoided for years to have as a nation, we were prepared to have it. And when the conversation began, too many people went silent.
The President with the Newtown families by his side shook the silence as hard as he could until his body and their bodies could shake no more. They had endured enough pain from this country and in return, so many people who are suppose to represent them in the halls of legislation promised them nothing but silence. The greedy, money hungry lobbyists who wear the letters “N-R-A” on their sleeves sent envelopes and boxes full of money to silence those who are suppose to represent the people, but end up representing the stock price of the gun manufacturers. And after a few months, when the bodies of the elementary school children went cold, so did our prayers for a bulletproof nation. 173 children under the age of 12, since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have died from the bullet of a gun. They too, were silenced.
You may write us down in history with your bitter, twisted lies. You may tread us in the very dirt, but still, like dust, we’ll rise. Maya Angelou reminded us all to never be silent. So, let us sing the songs of those beautiful twenty children lost that fateful Friday of last year. Let us march to the beat of Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan and Madeleine. Let us chant the lyrics of Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Grace, James and Emilie. Let us pound the drums of Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin and Allison. And let us wail on the saxophone of Ana Marquez-Greene. For these are the reasons we wake up in the morning. These are the children that made America so beautiful. These are the children that will not accept silence in their death.
Be kind. Be gentle. Be compassionate. Be prayerful. Just never, ever be silent!
Michael Skolnik is the Editor-In-Chief of GlobalGrind.com and the political director to Russell Simmons. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Previously, Michael was an award-winning filmmaker. Follow him on twitter @MichaelSkolnik