21 Years Later
I wanted to say a few words in light of the approaching 21st anniversary of the shooting at Heath High School on Saturday, although “anniversary” feels like too positive a word for this sort of marking of time.
I extend my greatest sympathies to those who are still grieving the loss of young lives and to those who still suffer from the trauma of horrific violence within a space that was supposed to be safe. As you well know, grief and anxiety are life-long burdens that can ebb and flow. I hope you find support from loved ones, faith leaders or mental health professionals any time you are struggling.
It is my goal through this oral history project to honor the lives lost and convey the pain, resilience and hard-earned wisdom of those who survived. Beyond this, I hope that these efforts, along with those of the wider community of survivors of mass violence, help ensure that we never have to add any more of these somber anniversaries to our calendars.
Resources for survivors and those who support them:
The Rebels Project is an online support group for survivors of mass trauma. It was started by Columbine survivors after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. http://therebelsproject.org/
The National Center for PTSD has a variety of resources. Look at the menu on the left, especially under the heading “Get Help.” https://www.ptsd.va.gov/
For more information on trauma and resilience, see this article from the American Psychological Association. There are links to resources for survivors, practitioners and advocates at the end. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/09/survivors.aspx