The family of a former Winnipeg girl who was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn., is asking people to mark the tragedy's one-year anniversary by doing something kind.
Ana Márquez-Greene, 6, was one of 20 children who died on Dec. 14, 2012, when an armed 20-year-old man burst into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and opened fire.
The man killed the 20 children, as well as six educators, before turning the gun on himself.
- Timeline: The Newtown school shooting
- Newtown families, religious leaders join vigil in Washington, D.C.
- Newtown report fails to determine shooting motive
Ana's older brother, Isaiah, was not injured.
Ana, Isaiah and their parents, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Márquez-Greene, had moved from Winnipeg to Newtown five months prior to the shooting.
Karen Schroeder, a close family friend in Winnipeg, says the days leading up to the shooting's one-year anniversary on Saturday have been a dark time for the Márquez-Greenes.
"It's really tough. They're reliving everything. They relived their last moments with Ana," said Schroeder, whose daughter, Abby, was good friends with Ana.
The Márquez-Greenes are asking for privacy ahead of Saturday's anniversary, in which the victims' families will light candles in honour of those who were killed.
Schroeder said Ana's family is asking the public to honour the little girl by carrying out acts of kindness on Saturday.
"By doing something kind for someone else, by volunteering, by hugging your kids extra-tight at night — just by doing the little things which make a big difference," she said.
Victims of Sandy Hook school shooting release statement
December 14, 2012 forever and unalterably changed our lives. Since that day, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness, love, prayers, and generosity received from the entire world. To simply say thank you is not enough to express our sincere gratitude.
In the midst of our grief we have come to realize that we want our loved ones to be remembered for the lives they lived and how they touched our hearts. We have been uplifted by the support of so many people and we would like to keep that spirit of unity and love alive in all we do to remember those we so dearly miss.
It is with this in mind that we have created the MySandyHookFamily.org website. This website is intended to serve as a singular place of sharing, communication, and contact with the families of those who lost their lives that day. MySandyHookFamily.org allows us the opportunity to honor those taken from us so violently.
We ask that you understand that each of us — each family — is unique in our own experiences following this tragedy and we each have our own voice and perspective. By creating this website, we hope to offer an opportunity to communicate with our families and honor our loved ones, while at the same time respecting each family’s individual journey and unique experiences.
On the one year mark of that horrific day, we know that many people across the country will be thinking of the children and educators so tragically taken from us, and wondering how to help. We ask that you consider performing an act of kindness or volunteering with a charitable organization in your local community. In this way, we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world.
If you would like to learn more about how we have chosen to honor our loved ones, please visit www.MySandyHookFamily.org.