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Mother of Newtown Shooting Victim to Speak on Campus
The mother of one of the children who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown is scheduled to speak at the University of Hartford on Tuesday, April 9, at 12:30 p.m. in Wilde Auditorium.
Scarlett Lewis, whose son, Jesse Lewis, was one of the first-graders killed in the horrific school shooting, will speak about the foundation she has created in her son’s memory, the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to develop school-based educational programs to change the culture of violence.
Also speaking at the event will be Christopher Kukk, a professor of political science at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) who is working with Lewis to implement the goals of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation.
The program is free and open to the public. This event is not open to the media.
The program is being organized by Taimon Turner '11, a former student of Wick Griswold, associate professor of sociology at Hillyer College, and it is being sponsored by the Hillyer Social Sciences Department.
In conjunction with Lewis’s upcoming talk, Griswold’s students have been collecting signatures on petitions calling for gun control legislation. So far, the students have more than 1,000 signatures.
Coincidentally, Lewis’s talk will take place just one day after President Barack Obama comes to campus to renew his call for measures to reduce gun violence.
The main focus of Lewis’s talk will be the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. According to the organization’s website, the foundation “collaborates with professional educators to bring lasting meaning to Jesse’s murder by developing school-based educational programs to change our current culture of violence to one of safety, peace and love for everyone in our world.
“This is the single guiding principle, the sole purpose and motto of our work: Teaching Others to Choose Love.”
Taimon Turner, the former student of Griswold's who initiated the April 9 event, earned an associate’s degree from Hillyer College in 2011. Turner is currently a senior at Hofstra University, majoring in broadcast journalism.
Turner, who grew up in West Harford, has always been interested in child abuse issues, and as he read and watched coverage of the shootings in his home state, he felt he had to do something. Turner knew Jesse Lewis’s father, who put him in touch with Scarlett Lewis, and he worked with Griswold to arrange for her to speak on campus.