Jimmy Greene, left, kisses his wife Nelba Marquez-Greene as he holds a portrait of their daughter, Sandy Hook School shooting victim Ana Marquez-Greene at a news conference at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Conn., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. One month after the mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the parents joined a grassroots initiative called Sandy Hook Promise to support solutions for a safer community. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Today would have been Ana Marquez-Greene’s seventh birthday. Instead of celebrating with cake and presents, her family will be going to the cemetery to visit her grave and a moment of silence was held in Times Square in the little girl's memory.
Ana was one of the 20 students and six staff members killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, and her parents wrote a column in today’s U.S.A. Today. It is in remembrance of their daughter and also makes a plea for national gun control legislation.
“Today, the governor of our home state of Connecticut will sign historic bipartisan legislation designed by legislators to make our communities safer. Their cooperative spirit should be a model for Congress, when the Senate considers legislation next week to reduce gun violence,” Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene wrote in the column. “We must look to our elected leaders and demand that they act, with love, to protect every citizen from gun violence. There is no one easy solution. Our mental health system needs an overhaul, and that will take time. No one knows this more than I do, as a licensed marriage and family therapist. But there are several steps that Congress can, and must, take now to save innocent lives.”
On a Facebook page in Ana’s memory, her parents are asking people to honor their daughter with random acts of kindness.
“In honor of Ana's life, we invite you to celebrate with family or friends today. Reach out to a neighbor, coworker or classmate. Perform a random act of kindness. Wear something purple or sparkly. Read with a child. Crank up the music, eat second dessert, dance like nobody's watching. Call your leaders. Pray for our country. Pray for common sense solutions. Pray for a love revolution.
“Seven years ago I gave birth to the most amazing sweet caramel princess. Less than four months ago, she was executed in her classroom. This photo is our final picture together taken at dinner on December 13th.
“Thank you for loving and supporting us. Thank you for not letting Ana's memory fade away. Thank you for your cards and letters both to us and to Washington. Thank you for reminding us that love does win.
“Happy first birthday in heaven to our princess of peace. Our princess for 6 and 1/2 years. Jesus' princess for eternity.
“Nelba, Jimmy and Isaiah”
Jimmy Greene is also asking people to honor their daughter by being kind to others.
“That her spirit is eternally present with Jesus and no doubt dancing right this minute in heaven is my only source of comfort. In honor of Ana's beautiful life, please love your neighbor. Offer someone your time, your attention and your care. Be your brother's keeper. Hug your children and let them know that you love them - not by giving them whatever they want but by teaching them right from wrong. Pray for your kids. Also pray for those who mistreat you. Show mercy. Make choices based on love rather than money and demand that your elected officials do the same. Be a giver, not a taker. Love wins!,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Mothers in the New York area who are affiliated with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gathered in Times Square, with purple flowers in hand, for a moment of silence at 9:05 a.m.
Malloy signed the legislation during a ceremony at noon on Thursday and said Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra was not at the bill signing because she was at a ceremony for Ana's birthday.
There is mixed reaction to the bill.
"I think there are lots of components of the bill that are very good, particularly the background one," David Freedman, of the Newtown Action Alliance, said.
Guns rights advocates, however, said the legislation will be a detriment to law-abiding gun owners.
"It’s in infringement on to a certain degree,” Peter Flemister, of New Haven, said. “They’re gonna find a way to get it."