Roundtable: Lived Experience: Trauma, Grief and Long-Term Healing from Terrorism and Mass Violence

Sally Lynch, Kathy Murphy, Amy O'Neill, Michael Morisette, Heather Martin, & Josh GarciaConstitution Hall Room 1

Abstract: This roundtable will feature perspectives of both survivors of mass violence and terrorism and professionals coordinating response and long-term recovery efforts for individuals, families and communities. Presenters will explore the benefits of peer support and community connections, effective methods of interagency and interprofessional collaboration, and offer promising practices for meeting the expansive and growing needs of communities newly impacted by tragedies.

Roundtable participants represent unique communities and voices within Tuesday's Children's Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program (STOP), a coalition of survivors and organizations united for prevention and peer support with the goals of promoting long-term recovery and resilience and addressing the multi-layered impacts of targeted violence and preventable mass-scale tragedies.

The session will explore peer support across communities and among individuals with different experiences but a shared purpose. Collaboration across agencies like those represented in STOP is unique in the aftermath of mass violence, where communities often experience turf issues and challenges in interagency relations. STOP creates a safe space for expression and personal reflection that is not confined to one organization.

The session will demonstrate the importance of elevating the voices of survivors, experts in lived experience, to the level of clinical experts in order to more effectively engage those newly impacted by terrorism, mass violence or traumatic events. Survivors are credible voices and trusted resources that can cut through barriers to engagement and counter tendencies toward self-isolation that are common in those impacted by widescale traumatic events.

Multiagency response efforts in the early aftermath of traumatic events can often result in uncoordinated services, underserved groups, duplicated efforts and confusion among community members about supports and resources available to them. Bridging the gap between immediate crisis response interventions, such as PFA, and more sustained community-led efforts promoting long-term healing, such as the resiliency center model, would close crucial gaps in care.

In 2021, Tuesday's Children established the Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program (STOP), inviting a cadre of founding members representing survivors and service providers from over a dozen communities to offer peer support and guidance in the wake of tragedies. Communities represented include: Virginia Tech, VA; Boston, MA; Thousand Oaks, CA; Newtown, CT; Aurora, CO; Littleton, CO (Columbine High School); Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; Las Vegas, NV; Hawaii; New York, NY; Military Gold Star families throughout the U.S.; and 9/11 families in both U.S. and Canada.

In 2022, a year that was marked by multiple acts of mass violence, STOP members issued a joint statement and call to action which can be accessed here:

The roundtable will present this joint statement as both an example of a successful interagency collaboration and a powerful message amplifying the diverse voices of survivors representing multiple communities impacted by the decades-long problem of mass violence in the U.S.

Participating organizations in STOP include 7/20 Foundation, 10.27 Healing Partnership, Canadian National Day of Service Foundation, Choose Love, Give an Hour, JFCS Pittsburgh, Leave No Victim Behind, Open to Hope, Stars of Hope, The Rebels Project, The Trauma Impact podcast, and VTV Care.


Sallie Lynch

    • Title: Senior Program & Development Consultant, Tuesday’s Children
    • Bio: Sallie Lynch, MA, Senior Program and Development Consultant at Tuesday’s Children, has 20+ years of experience serving families of 9/11 victims, responders and survivors, post-9/11 military families of the fallen, global victims of terrorism and communities impacted by mass violence. She is the principal researcher and author of Tuesday’s Children’s evidence-based Long-Term Healing Model, a training curriculum and online toolkit for community resilience. Sallie has provided capacity-building support, training and customized guidance in the aftermath of terrorism, mass violence and wide-scale trauma and loss to frontline service providers, community leaders and survivors in the U.S. and 34 countries engaged in Tuesday's Children's peacebuilding initiative Project COMMON BOND. She has secured federal and institutional funding for expansive multiyear projects addressing trauma and loss in response to terrorism, targeted violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. In the aftermath of 9/11, Sallie was co-investigator of a longitudinal research and intervention program with Columbia University School of Social Work and the FDNY Counseling Service Unit for 9/11 widows and children who lost a firefighter parent. She is co-author of FDNY Crisis Counseling: Innovative Responses to 9/11 Firefighters, Families and Communities (Wiley, 2006) and publications in U.S. international journals on long-term healing and community resilience. She has served on advisory committees for Vibrant Emotional Health’s Crisis Emotional Care Team (CECT), Peace of Mind Afghanistan (PoMA) and the UN Centre for Counter-Terrorism. She has presented at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the United Nations, the Department of Homeland Security and to other distinguished audiences. She holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University and a BA in Cultural Studies from Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Sallie is certified in Grief Education and Psychological First Aid and is co-founder of Tuesday’s Children’s Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program (STOP).


Kathy Murphy

  • Title: Senior Program Director, Tuesday’s Children, co-founder Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program (STOP)
  • Bio: Kathy Murphy is a Senior Program Director. Kathy has been part of the Tuesday’s Children since shortly after the organization launched in 2002. She spearheaded a platform of teen programs creating the Helping Heals Program, Career Paths Program (CRC) and Project COMMON BOND (PCB) as well as a source in codifying the Long Term Healing Model (LTHM). Of particular note, Kathy has been the Program Director for Project COMMON BOND, an international program launched in 2008, bringing together young adults worldwide who have experienced loss due to terrorism or military conflict. To date over 1000 youths representing 34 countries have attended the annual eight day symposium. The curriculum is based on exploring the elements of dignity, cultural understanding, and conflict resolution with the objective of turning pain into purpose. She is a founding member of STOP, Survivors of Trauma Outreach Program which provides peer support and resources to communities impacted by mass violence. Kathy graduated from Providence College with a BA in Social Work. She brings a historical perspective to the story of Tuesday’s Children, having worked with hundreds of our family members for the better part of 20 years, assessing their needs and creating programmatic solutions as well as cultivating and maintaining global partnerships to support the mission of Tuesday’s Children. Kathy oversees all aspects of the programs and assists with fundraising initiatives, grant proposals, curriculum development, domestic and international outreach and program logistics. She is certified as a Grief Educator. Kathy often represents Tuesday’s Children at international conferences for victims of terrorism and at the invitation from the United Nations CCT was a participant in a closed session of leading NGO’s to codify best practices in meeting the needs of victims. She was raised in Manhasset, NY, is married with five children.

Amy O'Neill, MS, LPC

  • Title: Licensed Professional Counselor; Survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings; Host of “The Trauma Impact” podcast; and Consultant
  • Bio: Amy C. O’Neill, MS, LPC, is a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing, a founding member of the Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program for Tuesday’s Children, a licensed professional counselor, part of the steering committee for the National Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center, a member of the VOCA-NCJA and OVC TTAC Office of Justice Program Consultant Networks.  She volunteers for the Crisis Emotional Care Team for Vibrant Emotional Health, the Disaster Distress Helpline peer support task force and the Disaster Mental Health Team for the American Red Cross. Ms. O’Neill hosts The Trauma Impact Podcast on Mental Health News Radio Network, focusing on trauma and recovery from mass violence. It has been downloaded around the world. Ms. O’Neill maintains a private counseling practice, is an Adjunct Instructor for the graduate Counseling Psychology Program at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA, and is a student in the Doctor of Health Sciences Program at Bay Path University. She is passionate about connecting to and speaking with survivors around the world.
  • Links

Michael Morisette

  • Pronouns: he/him/his
  • Title: Father of Kristina, one of 12 victims of the 2018 shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA; Outreach Coordinator, Give an Hour
  • Bio: Father of Kristina Kaylee Morisette, lost in the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting at Thousand Oaks California, on November 7th, 2018. Michael began volunteering in outreach to that impacted community, and currently works full time for a non-profit, Give an Hour, providing mental health support for other survivors of mass traumas. Michael is also a founding member of the non-profit Tuesday’s Children’s ‘Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program’ (STOP)… a collaboration of Loved ones, Survivors, and Experts from various communities who support each other, and search for ways to be an encouragement to those impacted by mass violence incidents as they fall into the fold.

Heather Martin

  • Title: Survivor of the 1999 Columbine HS mass shooting; Executive Director and CoFounder, The Rebels Project
  • Bio: Heather Martin is co-founder of The Rebels Project, named after the Columbine mascot, that supports survivors of trauma resulting from mass trauma events. On April 20, 1999, Heather barricaded in a small office in Columbine High School for three hours until a SWAT group rescued her and the other students. Heather returned home physically uninjured, but the effects of the trauma she experienced that day continue to impact her. With The Rebels Project, Heather has traveled to impacted communities to connect with survivors and provide insight into the journey toward recovery, and The Rebels Project hosts an annual Survivor Retreat where survivors from around the country come together for a long weekend of healing and connection. As a national speaker, she advocates for informed responses to traumatic events from the perspective of a survivor and currently resides in Colorado where she teaches high school English in Aurora, CO.

Josh Garcia

  • Pronouns: he/him/his
  • Title: Former management at Pulse Orlando, survivor of the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub; Executive Director, Stars of HOPE
  • Bio: Josh Garcia is a dedicated advocate for community healing through art. He was a management team member at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where he supported those impacted by the 2016 mass violence incident. Following the tragedy, he transitioned to a new role as the Program Manager at Stars of HOPE USA and is now Executive Director. In this role, he oversees the implementation of the Stars of HOPE program, which uses art as a tool for recovery and social connection in communities affected by disasters and violence.
Fri 3:55 pm - 12:00 am
100 max
day three, mass violence, roundtable, Tuesday's Children