Photos and story by Taylor Blanch / Contributing Writer
Tennessee Congressional Candidate Mariah Phillips hosted a poster-making party, in which Murfreesboro residents gathered to create posters and signs for the March For Our Lives Nashville protest, Thursday at Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Murfreesboro.
On February 14, Nikolas Cruz opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with an AR-15, taking the lives of 14 students and three adults. Since that day, the outraged survivors and their supporters have banded together to voice their growing concerns about gun laws by planning school walkouts and rallying for stricter gun control. As a result of the increasing frustration, the March for Our Lives movement was ignited.
On Saturday, rallies will be held simultaneously around the country in an effort to make opposing forces see that there is a dire need for stricter gun laws.
Phillips, who taught at Daniel McKee Alternative School in Murfreesboro for seven years, recognized the potential dangers of emerging laws and ideas and felt the need to take action.
“As a teacher and a mother, I really care about making sure our communities are safe,” Phillips said. “I have a gun carry permit, but I would not want to carry it in a crowded high school hallway. I see too many times where that could go wrong, rather than where it would help.”
Phillips said that she hosted the party because she wants her community to be involved in political change.
“I hope that we can change the conversation,” Phillips said. “I hope that when people see the energy and the passion and the enthusiasm behind this movement, that they’re willing to look through the eyes of a child and see what’s really possible.”
Many Middle Tennessee residents have rallied behind the cause of reducing gun violence. Over 10,000 supporters are expected to gather at Centennial Park in Nashville to march. Along with the increasing success and excitement behind the movement, Phillips also hopes that the march will encourage people to get out and vote.
“Voting is the most important form of activism,” Phillips said.
Phillips hopes that with her efforts, as well as the backing of residents, a major change will be made in the state of Tennessee.
“As an individual, there are things we can do,” Phillips said. “But, it’s really our collective voice that is where change happens.”
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