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Ann Curry challenges nation do to "#20Acts" of kindness to honor Sandy Hook shooting victims

8:21 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
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In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, you might feel compelled to do something to remember the victims or process your own grief, but maybe you aren't sure what to do. There's a growing movement on social media that you can participate in, even if you aren't web savvy.

The unthinkable scene in that small Northeastern town will likely be on the minds of the nation for some time. As news massacre in Newton, Connecticut rippled across the country, many used social media to keep up with the story and express their feelings.

NBC News Correspondent Ann Curry covered the event, but she didn't immediately know what to say to more than one million followers on social media. Sunday she found the words and took to Twitter.

"Imagine if everyone went out and committed to 20 acts of kindness for everyone child lost in Newtown?" Curry tweeted.

Curry's question soon took off online with the hashtag #20Acts.  Now, it's become a challenge of sorts to the nation.  

"I was stunned because people online were saying, 'What about 26? We should count everyone who was lost in that school,' so 20 became 26 because that's what people wanted," Curry explained.

Curry said she got the idea after thinking back to something she did to help herself heal from what she'd seen during a reporting in Darfur, a part of Sudan, Africa that's been struggling with war, poverty, and genocide for years.

"I started going around to all of the women who were gathered in the courtyard carrying their babies who had just been attacked by the Janjaweed, knowing that all of these women have never had a photograph with their child ever before. And, I started taking pictures of children. I remember giving these Polaroids to these women and they looked at this black square with a confused look and I'd say, 'Just one minute,' and all of a sudden they saw the faces of their children appear on the photograph. That made me feel better," Curry explained.

She said she realized "#20Acts" is a way the nation can start to heal from the Sandy Hook shooting, "If people could do something good, they would start to feel better about this huge tragedy that had happened to our nation."

For the past two days, Curry has been re-tweeting acts of kindness posted by thousands of people around the world. She has also invited Facebook users to post them on her timeline.

"One woman said she bought coffee for the woman behind her and that he hugged her when she started crying. She said she was a teacher," Curry said.

Others have shown that honoring victims with of acts of kindness is priceless.

"They've been making green ribbons for coworkers at work that are green and white for the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary," Curry said.

There is no doubt the entire nation continues to grieve over the school massacre. Social media expert Shane Rhyne said "20Acts" is an example of the power and purpose of the web,"We have that ability to access as an individual, thousands of people, especially if you can get re-tweets and shares."

Rhyne believes social media movements can also be healing.

Curry said you don't need to be on social media to spread kindness in honor of the victims; your words could help pay it forward.

"I think that even if they're not used to boasting, to go ahead and speak out and talk about what they're doing because i think that inspires other people...Collectively, I think it will be a great wave," said Curry.

To participate on Twitter, tweet your acts of kindness using the hashtags "#20Acts" or "#26Acts". Be sure to also include the Twitter handle for 10News: @wbir. We will be looking through them and might share them on 10News programming throughout the week.

You can also share your acts of kindness on Curry's Facebook timeline.

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