A new movement has taken off to honor the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The campaign sparked from a tweet from NBC News correspondent Ann Curry.
Twitter hashtags frequently start trends, but this week #20Acts started a revolution.
In the wake of the loss of 20 students and six teachers and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Ann Curry of NBC News realized the need for kindness in a nation of suffering people.
On Sunday, Curry tweeted: “Imagine if all of us committed to 20 mitvahs/acts of kindness to honor each child lost in Newtown. I’m in. If you are RT #20Acts.”
Not only did Curry’s message go viral, but followers also upped the ante to #26Acts to include faculty victims.
Within hours, Curry’s Twitter page filled with acts of selflessness ranging from paying for strangers’ coffee to buying meals for homeless people to leaving gift cards on random cars in a parking lot. Most were left anonymously, signed in honor of a Newtown victim.
When Stacey Northup, a public relations senior at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, started following the #26Acts trend on Twitter, she couldn’t get enough of the good news.
“I’ve always been addicted to Twitter, but I kept checking my Twitter page every five minutes to see all of the things that people are doing,” Northup said. “Last night, I laid in bed thinking about what I could do.”
Her #26Acts commitment started with a letter. She wrote to her kindergarten teacher, thanking her for providing the foundation for 17 years of education.
Northup posted her act to her Twitter page and scored a retweet from Curry.
“I was so excited,” Northup said. “It’s pretty cool that somebody who is a great journalist and reporter is recognizing so many people for their acts of kindness. Seeing all of the acts of kindness inspires me, and I’m sure a lot of other people, to do more and more.”
Northup then cleaned out her pantry, donating to a food bank. Now, she said she’s looking forward to her third act of kindness: buying a lunch.
“Tomorrow at work, I’m going to go out to lunch with my lunch box to pay for someone else’s lunch with the money that I’m saving by bringing mine,” she said.
Henna Siraj, a University of Florida junior, read about the movement online and saw Northup’s tweet, among hundreds of others, on Curry’s timeline Wednesday. She committed to #26Acts immediately.
“Reading about the acts others have done brought me to tears,” Siraj said. “It was just so nice.”
In fact, the response to #26Acts on Twitter has been so overwhelming, at one point, Curry apologized for monopolizing the Twitter feed.
“Followers, sorry for blowing up your feed with #26Acts #20Acts,” she tweeted.
To many, however, her apology was unnecessary. Responders nationwide cited the movement as “heartwarming and inspiring grief into action,” and “the best thing that’s happened on Twitter.”
Thousands of acts of kindness and tweets later, Curry is “thrilled, but not surprised.”
Thursday morning she tweeted, “My work has shown me the truth about us… We are at our core, good.”
In fact, follower @Ciar_Cullen might have phrased it best in her tweet, which read: “Finding my acts are things I should have been doing all along. This is astounding, embarrassing, humbling and wonderful.”
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