Shannon Watts speaks about gun violence during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on Feb. 12, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty

Day 23: How Newtown moms became “accidental activists”


On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, including 20 children. The incident provoked national outrage and grief.

The following day, mother-of-five Shannon Watts began a Facebook page entitled “One Million Moms for Gun Control.” The first post read, in part:

This site is dedicated to action on gun control – not just dialogue about anti-gun violence. Change will require action by angry Americans outside of Washington, D.C. We need to organize a One Million Mom March in 2013.

That Facebook page developed into a national organization, later renamed Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Watts wrote in the Huffington Post:

Why has our movement been so successful? Because as the events at Sandy Hook Elementary unfolded last year, I and the other mothers of America were given an ultimatum: Act now to reduce gun violence in America or sit by as these senseless tragedies continue to occur in our communities. We chose to act.

The organization describes itself as “created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms.” And it places mothers squarely at the center of its activism. Their website explains:

American mothers are an important voice that, when harnessed, will wield significant change. We may be accidental activists, but we are the wave of change in America

Assignment: Check out the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in American website. How do you see the organization and its members engaging their motherhood as part of their activism?