Tim McGraw Responds to Backlash Over Sandy Hook Promise Benefit Concert
Tim McGraw's headlining slot at a benefit concert for the Sandy Hook Promise non-profit isn't a political statement, the singer says. Rather, it's his way of showing support for those who lost loved ones in the tragic 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"I don’t put a political blanket on what I’m doing,” McGraw, a parent of three daughters, says. “This is about helping people and leading with your heart. I think that that’s what I try to do, and we’re doing things [that] are earmarked for a lot of good in the community.”
McGraw's benefit concert has faced backlash from the National Rifle Association and other online sources ever since Breitbart.com incorrectly labeled the Hartford, Conn., event as a "gun control fundraiser." However, according to SHP's website, proceeds will go toward the organization's "unrelenting work to promote mental wellness, combat social isolation and prevent gun violence to #ProtectOurKids." Sandy Hook Promise seeks to protect children from gun violence by "engaging and empowering parents and communities with targeted prevention programs" -- and, of course, a main focus is to ensure that no parent will ever have to go through the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child due to gun violence again.
"Out of this tragedy, a group was formed that made a promise to honor the lives lost and turn it into a moment of transformation. Sandy Hook Promise teaches that we can do something to protect our children from gun violence," McGraw adds. "I want to be a part of that promise — as a father and as a friend.”
The "Meanwhile, Back at Mama's" hitmaker was personally affected by the Newtown, Conn., shootings: His fiddle player, Dean Brown, is a friend of Mark Barden, a parent who lost his 7-year-old son Daniel in the tragedy.
“When you sit across from a family who’ve gone through such a great tragedy, it’s just heartbreaking. And when you sit and have a conversation, and you feel connected and they want you to help, and you feel like you can help, then you lead with your heart,” McGraw says. “When you talk about protecting our kids from violence and doing everything you can to protect our children, I’m all in.”
The concert is set to take place on July 17 and is part of McGraw's 2015 Shotgun Rider Tour, which also features Billy Currington and Chase Bryant. Currington will not be performing at the show, and instead will make a donation to a local organization, but Bryant has confirmed his participation.
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