JP residents continue responding to Newtown

(Courtesy Photo) JP resident Cristina Nelson climbs Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Newtown tragedy sent out reverberations that are still being felt throughout the nation and in Jamaica Plain.

One local resident recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa to fly flags honoring the victims, while another JP resident used a sidewalk chalk campaign to raise awareness of a grassroots gun-control organization.

On Dec. 14, 26 people, including 20 children, were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

JP resident Cristina Nelson had planned to scale Mount Kilimanjaro to fly Tibetan flags attached with the names of the 20 children killed and then send the flags to Newtown, as the Gazette previously reported.

But Nelson incurred altitude sickness at 17,500 feet and could not make it to the top of the mountain. She gave the flags to a father and son who were with the group she was climbing with. They flew the flags at the top, but did not bring them back down. Nelson said the experience was still “great.”

Nelson said, “It was very meaningful,” especially being able to do something with purpose in the face of a tragedy that made her feel powerless.

Nelson had planned to climb Mount Kilimanjaro before the Newtown shooting. After it had happened, she said she was “distraught and terribly upset.” A chaplain friend told her she should do the climb for the children.

When asked why she chose Tibetan flags, Nelson said that she is Catholic, but quipped the names would have not fit on a crucifix. She said, “The Tibetan flags represent a spiritual tradition I really admire.”

Nelson had also planned to send 20 pebbles from Mount Kilimanjaro to Newtown, but was prevented from taking them out of the country by Tanzanian security officials.

Meanwhile, another Jamaica Plain resident used a sidewalk chalk campaign to raise awareness about One Million Moms for Gun Control, a grassroots organization based in Indiana formed after the Newtown tragedy.

The resident, who called the Gazette to tell about her effort but would not give her name, wrote the organization’s website address,, in chalk on the sidewalk in several places in JP, including in Hyde Square. This was part of planned campaign to urge Congress to take action on gun control.

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