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Leaders, Advocates Call for 'Critical Acts of Kindness'

As the first anniversary of Dec. 14 approaches, state leaders and representatives from the United Way, the Newtown Foundation and Newtown Action Alliance spoke in New Britain Monday about the need to "mark this week with service" and acts of love and kindness.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty and Sen. Richard Blumenthal were among speakers at the media event. Blumenthal called for "a more peaceful and beautiful world."

"We're united for love, peace, hope — which is the way we can change and transform the world," Blumenthal said. "And help keep faith with those 20 beautiful children and six educators who lost their lives on that day."

Blumenthal commended advocate Monte Frank, who read a statement from First Selectman Pat Llodra thanking the leaders.

"In Newtown, we believe there's no greater gift of love than to perform acts of kindness in honor of those whose lives were taken on Dec. 14," Llodra said in her letter. "We believe, too, there's power sufficient to move the world when so many think and act the same thoughts and deeds ... In Newtown and Sandy Hook, we choose love."

Llodra has called on residents and those concerned about Newtown to honor the anniversary on Saturday by performing acts of kindness in memory of Sandy Hook.

Esty said she would be among those performing acts of kindness.

"Throughout this difficult year, families and members of the Newtown community have responded to unimaginable tragedy not with anger or hate, but with love, courage, and kindness," she said. "They have inspired me and countless others across the country. As we near one of the most difficult anniversaries, we are called to honor the lives lost to gun violence across the country not only with somber remembrance and reflection, but by stepping up and leading -- with simple, but critical acts of kindness. I will be volunteering here in Connecticut and then later this week with colleagues in Washington, and I urge others to do so in their own communities."

Esty performed her act of kindness by reading to children at YWCA New Britain, according to her office, and will be volunteering in Washington, D.C. this week as well.

Esty's office encouraged those looking for ways to help to visit the United Way's Volunteer Connecticut website and browse volunteering opportunities. In Sandy Hook, residents can volunteer at the Make A Home Foundation's warehouse to provide furniture for families in need.

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