Our six year old daughter, Avielle Rose Richman, was one of twenty-six children and educators tragically killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14th, 2012. My wife and I have started a brain science foundation in her honor with the mission of understanding and ultimately preventing violence. This May, the Avielle Foundation joins the Child Mind Institute to Speak Up for Kids because we believe our future depends on our children’s imagination.

We speak up because we know that the imagination of a healthy brain can lead to discoveries with the power to change humanity. Every child deserves a chance to imagine a world free of violence, fear, pain, and isolation; a world of empathy, health, beauty, and inclusion. And every child deserves the opportunity to make what they imagine a reality.

We speak up by championing scientific research and education that will bring light to the dark mysteries of the brain, making the invisible complexities visible. When we take the brain out of the shadows, we find understanding and the freedom to create appropriate therapies, bringing hope to kids and families. We see a near future where parents and patients have no fear seeking help, because the brain will be respected and treated like any other organ in the body.

We speak up because every kid deserves a strong, nurturing, and supporting community. Without investment in community we cannot take care of each other; we need a collective solution to provide brain healthcare for everyone.

We speak up with Avielle’s voice, because she cannot. We speak up for kids because we imagine a world where all children have the opportunity to live happy and healthy lives that celebrate the beauty of their brains.