US Catholic Faith in Real Life

A light in the darkness: "26 Acts of Kindness" campaign sparked by Newtown violence

By Caitlyn Schmid | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

As Americans grieve over the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, many have added “kindness” to the list of their emotional responses. Through tears, pain, and confusion, a campaign to help with the healing process was unintentionally initiated by NBC News’ Ann Curry.

The “26 Acts of Kindness” campaign began as a tweet from Curry which challenged her followers to commit 20 acts of kindness as a small contribution to heal the heartbreak. Each act would represent the memory of one child who was killed during the attack. “I’m in,” Curry bluntly stated. The idea went viral.

The movement now has over 58,000 “likes” on its Facebook page. Participants have now expanded the count to 26 acts to include the six adults who were killed in the elementary school as well, and the Twitter hashtag “#26Acts” has been retweeted thousands of times. To include Nancy Lanza, mother of gunman Adam Lanza, some have even proposed to commit 27 acts. Many post photographs or tweets online to share their stories and ideas for acts of kindness.

For example, some have brought coffee and breakfast to coworkers. Others have donated money to homeless shelters or local charities. Though the acts are may be small, the efforts are tremendous. This campaign initially caught my attention because of the hope that radiates from it. Out of such darkness comes a powerful light.

We, as Catholics (and not to mention human beings), are called to love and help one another. In such a time of tragedy, even the smallest gesture can be significant and, in this case, contagious. I was reminded of a quote from Blessed Mother Theresa as I read about these heartfelt efforts. She said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

What will you do? Let us strive to spread that great love to counter the heartache.