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Grieving Families, Community Launch 'Sandy Hook Promise'

Pledging to do all they can "to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence," parents, family and friends of the 20 children and six educators killed in the Dec. 14 mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., just launched Sandy Hook Promise.

The organization's mission statement:

"Our hearts are broken;
Our spirit is not.

"And it is with this knowledge
that we are able to move forward
with purpose ... and strength ...

"This is a Promise

"To support our own
our families, our neighbors, our teachers, our community
with dedication and love
as well as the material and financial needs they will require
in the days ahead.

"This is a Promise

"To truly honor the lives lost
by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.

"This is a Promise

"To be open to all possibilities.
There is no agenda other than to make
our community and our nation a safer, better place.

"This is a Promise

"To have the conversations on ALL the issues
Conversations where listening is as important as speaking.
Conversations where even those with the most opposing views
can debate in good will.

"This is a Promise

"To turn the conversation into actions.
Things must change.
This is the time.

"This is a Promise

"We make to our precious children.
Because each child, every human life is filled with promise,
and though we continue to be filled with unbearable pain
we choose love, belief, and hope
instead of anger.

"This is a Promise

"To do everything in our power to be remembered
not as the town filled with grief and victims;
but as the place where
real change began.

"Our hearts are broken;
Our spirit is not.

"This is our promise."

They also make the case for "common sense":

"Moving forward, the SHP mission is to work to identify and implement holistic, common sense solutions that will make our community and our country safer from similar acts of violence through education, outreach and grass-roots discussion. SHP believes the time has come to enter into these discussions with equal parts of Love, Compassion, and Common Sense."

And they are calling for "three discussions":

-- About gun owners' "responsibility and accountability."

-- The treatment and care of those with mental health problems.

-- The "practical steps we can take to make schools and public spaces safer."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.