20 minutes from Sandy Hook, at the City Hill Middle School in Naugatuck Connecticut, Christoph Arnold, Hashim Garrett, and Charles Williams spoke to 350 8th grade students. One of the issues they addressed was fear and how it can be overcome through love, and caring for those immediately around us.

Relating stories from the lives and example of Martin Luther King Jr., Cassie Bernall, Dawn Hochsprung, and others who died pursuing a cause they believed in, a message of hope emerged. The portrait of Dawn Hochsprung (displayed on the stage) evoked memories of a personal friend and relative in this audience. All of Dawn’s children attended this school.

Hashim told of overcoming anger and hate through forgiveness; Chief Williams of forgiving his alcoholic mother after decades of hatred. His message: “Don’t waste 35 years like I did. If you have hatred and grudges reach out today. Forgive.” Their stories rang true with students and staff alike. As the applause faded dozens of students crowded around the speakers to tell their own stories or ask questions. All were offered a complimentary copy of Mr. Arnold’s book Why Forgive?.