Shaken by the , a Ridgewood man is pledging to donate big dollars – with the help of students – to end gun violence in America.
If John Bykowsky's vision comes to form, you'll see thousands of Ridgewood students walking around the schools on Friday as a loose extension of a national remembrance march for the 27 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
"Everytime I look at a six-year-old kid I see how tender they are, how beautiful they are," Bykowsky, a father of two, said. "The thought of shooting one is just devastating...I can't even fathom it. It's unbelievable."
The Ridgewood resident is pledging to donate $1 for every student who walks 27 minutes at their school on Friday, whether it be before, during or after school hours. The check will be issued to The Brady Center to End Gun Violence, a non-profit group with aims to create stricter gun control laws.
With roughly 5,900 students in the district, his check could be nearly $6,000. Students will tell the main office of their respective school if they've walked and Bykowsky will add the tally to determine the amount he donates, he said.
Bykowsky promised to donate $1,000 regardless of how many students walk.
The villager does not know if his plan – hastily hatched and without any coordination with the schools – will be effective, but he feels compelled to send a message of unity with the children.
The events of Friday reinforce Bykowsky's belief that guns are far too accessible in the U.S. A line has to be drawn somewhere, he said.
"Right now it's the first real time I've sensed people willing to budge," he said Thursday. "There seems to be a bit more willingness to listen. It's like a watershed moment."