Keynote: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
9:00 am Grand Ballroom
Scarlett Lewis’ six-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was murdered in his first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, alongside 19 of his classmates, and six educators in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
Scarlett found out shortly after the tragedy that Jesse used his final moments to heroically save six of his classmates. When the shooter stopped to reload, in a true act of courage and love, Jesse yelled to his classmates to run while he stayed by his teacher’s side.
Before Jesse’s funeral, Scarlett found a message he wrote on their kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died, “Norturting Helinn Love” (Nurturing, Healing Love). These words are not in the vernacular of a six-year-old and were phonetically spelled because Jesse was in first grade and just learning to write. However, they are in the definition of compassion across all cultures. Love is as necessary to our healthy existence as food and water and is a universal need that connects all of humanity.
Scarlett realized the solution is simple. If we infuse our classrooms with love and teach children how to give, and receive love, they won’t want to harm one another and could actually add to a more peaceful and loving world.
Using Jesse’s example of courage, Scarlett decided to become part of the solution to the violence we are experiencing today and started a worldwide movement to choose love. Following the tragedy, Scarlett asked herself two questions: How could something like this happen? What can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again? After researching the shooter’s background,
Scarlett realized this violent act started with an angry thought in the young man’s head that was responsible for the mass shooting. She also understood that an angry thought can be changed. Scarlett set out to get Jesse’s message into classrooms with the understanding that if the shooter knew how to give and receive “nurturing healing love,” that the tragedy would never have happened.
Scarlett started the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ to foster the understanding that with the right tools, we can educate and encourage individuals to choose loving thoughts over angry thoughts.