WASHINGTON, DC — Most of the country will mark the six-month anniversary of Newtown by reading an article or two about the tragedy and, perhaps, taking a moment of reflection on how we as a society allowed it to happen. Not Sarah Clements.
Clements, a junior at Newtown High School, was in class down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14 when word spread that something terrible was unfolding. Her mom taught at Sandy Hook, just down the hall to the right of the entrance where Adam Lanza busted through. “He came in and turned left, but if he had turned right…” Clements recounted before trailing off.
There are moments that stuck out to her since. Reuniting with her family that day. The mob of parents in the Sandy Hook parking lot, many of whom wouldn’t get the same opportunity. Her principal crying at the first assembly following the shooting. Comfort dogs that had been brought in from Illinois.
But what’s helped her the most, Clements said, was when she decided in late January to form the Junior Newtown Action Alliance, a group of young people from the area who advocate for stronger gun laws. They’ve organized letter-writing campaigns in the community and made a slew of media appearances to explain why ending gun violence is a youth issue as well.
The group was in D.C. this week for the six-month mark of the tragedy, meeting with lawmakers and their staff on Capitol Hill. After meeting with the staff of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), as well as Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) herself, they sat down with ThinkProgress to tell their story.
Watch a highlight from that interview with Clements (left) and another member of the group, Kyra Murray:
Murray later summed up why they are taking time to travel the country in an attempt to strengthen our nation’s gun laws: “I don’t want more towns on the map like Newtown, or like Aurora, or Columbine, or Tucson.”