'Evil Did Not Win' at Sandy Hook: Video Honors the Life of 6-Year-Old Girl
In Newtown, Conn., Saturday morning, church bells rang out 26 times in remembrance of the children and educators who lost their lives one year ago today at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The town's St. Rose of Lima Church began ringing its bells at 9:30 a.m., the same time that shooter Adam Lanza entered the school on Dec. 14, 2012, and took the lives of 20 children and six adults before taking his own.
The Associated Press reports that Newtown asked for quiet and privacy on this day, displaying signs this morning in its Sandy Hook district announcing "No Media" and "No Press." In October, First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra announced Newtown would not host any formal remembrance events.
"If we build it, they will come," Llodra told The New York Times. "So we have to not build it."
For the families of the children who died, however, remembrance carries on daily.
Robbie and Alissa Parker, the parents of 6-year-old Emilie, recently released this video, titled Evil Did Not Win, documenting their experience mourning the loss of their daughter while finding ways to celebrate her life.
Alissa Parker wrote in The Huffington Post, "There have been times where I felt like I HAD to hold on to the dark things, like it was some responsibility I was supposed to carry. But Emilie's life was about color and joy, not about pain and suffering."
Today the Emilie Parker Art Connection supports funding for the arts in communities and schools. The Parkers have also become school-safety advocates and worked to provide emergency medical care to children in developing countries.
Their work stands among many initiatives set up by Newtown families to carry on their loved ones' legacies. Others include What Would Daniel Do?, an organization meant to inspire kindness and compassion in honor of 7-year-old Daniel Barden, and the Avielle Foundation, an anti-violence advocacy group that promotes scientific research and community education in honor of 6-year-old Avielle Richman.
As Parker explained in her video, "We'll carry on that love that she had," she said. "It's quiet; it's not on the news. It takes effort to find." Though Parker says that after the shooting she was paralyzed by the magnitude of evil in the world, "what I've realized through all of this is how strong and how big God's love really is."