Two alumnae leaders working to change the conversation on America’s gun culture
Nancy Lekowitz '92 (left) and Meg Felton Staunton '86 (right) at the March for Change rally on the steps of the Capital with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.
When Nancy Lefkowitz ’92 traveled to Washington, D.C. to join the Million Mom March for tighter gun control in 2000, little did she know 12 years later she’d be leading 5,500 people in her own rally at the Connecticut state Capitol.
The unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. brought this issue front and center for her and Meg Felton Staunton ’86, both working mothers from Fairfield, Conn. They decided to do something about it.
“We asked ourselves how we were going to participate in this conversation and really make change,” said Lefkowitz.
“It was originally going to be a couple of us around the table and we thought, let's post it to Facebook and see what happens. That’s when the meeting just took off,” said Staunton.
Lefkowitz, who is vice president, talent relations, for Tribeca Enterprises in New York, and Staunton, a consultant for Herbert Mines Associates in New York, formed the grassroots organization March for Change and helped organize the rally for Valentine’s Day, two months following the Newtown shootings. One of the largest rallies ever at the Capitol, the program included speeches from Newtown families, elected officials and victims of gun violence.
Their efforts paid off. Governor Dannel Malloy was among the officials who spoke at the event. A week following the rally, he introduced a gun control plan that includes, among other things, a ban on civilian purchases of the AR-15 military-style rifle. The plan is currently sitting at the legislative level while the state’s bipartisan task force on gun violence prevention and children’s safety develops an omnibus bill to include legislation on gun violence prevention, school safety initiatives and mental health services.
That has given the duo and hundreds of other committed activists yet another opportunity to do what they do best — mobilize support to create change.
“The hope is that this bill will incorporate nothing short of what Governor Malloy has proposed,” said Staunton. “We are pushing hard for our legislators to support it.”
“We can’t, for a moment, stop applying pressure to change the laws. The senseless violence against our children has got to stop, and we plan to be make this a priority for as long as it takes,” said Lefkowitz.
True to her word, she and Meg are busy supporting the Mothers United Against Gun Violence rally scheduled in Hartford on March 30.