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Mother of Sandy Hook Victim to Orlando Families: ‘We Will Remember Your Children’

Nelba Marquez-Greene, the mother of a child who died in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, penned an emotional letter to the Orlando families who lost loved ones in the Sunday, June 12, shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub.

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Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene
Jimmy and Nelba Marquez-Greene, the parents of Ana Marquez-Greene, a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, attend a news conference in 2013 in Newtown, Connecticut.

Marquez-Greene, who also shares a son, Isaiah, with husband Jimmy Greene, explained how she and her family will pay tribute to those affected by the massacre in Orlando, which left 49 dead and dozens more injured.

“I don’t know what to tell my son. But know I will commit to learning about each and every one of your loved ones. And we will commit as a family to learning about their lives and the legacies you build in their memory. But I am so sorry. Because you shouldn’t have to be doing this. You should be planning summer outings to the beach and barbecues and birthdays and graduations. And I know it will never be the same,” she wrote. “My son will learn about your loved ones. And we will not forget. We will say their names out loud. We will remember your children. As you remembered and learned about ours.”

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Not long after her daughter’s death, Marquez-Greene founded the Ana Grace Project, a charity organization that promotes “love, community and connection for every child and family.” In her message, she warned “generous hearts” who are looking to donate to the Orlando victims’ families and friends to be wary of where their money is going.

Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene
Jimmy and Nelba Marquez-Greene hug during a news conference in 2013 in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Please WAIT to donate until you know for sure that your hard earned dollars will be received by VICTIMS… and not by individuals, groups and organizations designed to benefit from tragedies,” she advised. “…Millions were poured in to Sandy Hook. Very little actually reached us… Specify that you want it to go to victim families.”

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At the end of her letter, Marquez-Greene encouraged readers to remain watchful in order to prevent future tragedies.

“If you know someone who shows extreme hate of a group or individual, has access to weapons and you feel there is inherent risk of harm- please call your local police immediately. Let’s be more than bystanders. Let’s save lives. From Sandy Hook,” she concluded. “From Ana and Isaiah’s mom and dad. We love you. We are so very heartbroken.”

Orlando police officers outside Pulse nightclub after a fatal shooting in Orlando.

As Us Weekly previously reported, police identified the Orlando shooter as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, Florida. The attack, which officials have called a possible “act of domestic terrorism,” is now the deadliest shooting in American history.

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Mateen — born in Queens to Afghani immigrants — allegedly pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS during his deadly rampage. Several outlets have reported that Mateen had messaged gay men on various dating apps and had visited Pulse multiple times prior to the shooting. Mateen’s father, Seddique Mir Mateen, has told reporters that his son was not “radicalized” and vehemently denied speculation that he was gay.

Read Marquez-Greene’s full letter to the Orlando shooting victims’ families here

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