Nashville Comes Together on One Year Anniversary of Covenant School Shooting

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On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, Voices for a Safer Tennessee will be hosting a human chain to commemorate the one year anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at The Covenant School last year. The group was formed after the shooting to advocate for gun reforms.

The chain will go from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt through Centennial Park and up Charlotte Avenue to the Tennessee Capitol building. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. They are looking for about 13,000 people to participate in the four-mile chain.

“This peaceful event is an opportunity to link arms, unite hearts, and remember those who have lost their lives due to preventable firearms tragedies,” said Nichole Floyd Smith, a co-founder of Voices for a Safer Tennessee in a press release. “We will honor their legacies, and support the survivors, through our shared commitment to continue to work for change.”

For those who are not able to participate, there is an opportunity to participate online.

Organizers are asking for all participants to wear red. There will be a check-in at a programming stage that will be housed at Musician’s Corner in Centennial Park. Once registered, participants will receive more information on where to report on the linking arms route.

Performances by Old Crow Medicine Show lead singer Ketch Secor and Christian music artist Blessing Offor will be taking place on the stage at Musician’s Corner at the same time as the human chain. Speakers will include local leaders from the faith community.

One year ago, a 28-year-old former student blasted through the glass doors to the school and opened fire, leaving three nine-year-old children and three adult staff dead. In just 14 minutes, the lives of students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney were lost, as were those of Head of School Katherine Koonce, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, and custodian Mike Hill.

Recently, the Metro Council passed a resolution honoring the victims and first responders on hand at the school that day.

Voices for a Safer Tennessee is a coalition of 25,000 people representing all 95 counties in the state. It formed quickly after the shooting to support gun control measures. These measures include temporary transfer laws, stricter gun storage rules, and stronger background checks. Currently, Tennessee has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation.

Tennessee is what is called a “shall-issue state,” according to usconcealedcarry.com. This term refers to licensing standards that require state authorities to grant permits to carry firearms in public to any individual, 21 and older for a handgun and 18 and up for rifles, that meets a very minimum standard, which in Tennessee is passing a basic background check. Safetytennesseeproject.com states that “shall issue” is also called “right-to-carry.”

The “Linking Arms for Change” event will be bringing the gun control issue back into the light, at the same time there are questions about the FBI refusing to share the shooter’s manifesto so families can understand why the mass shooting took place.

“This event will demonstrate the hope felt by Tennesseans that together we can strengthen policies that will lead to safer communities across our state,” said the organization in a press release.

Supporting Covenant School

People have asked how they can help and support Covenant School during this time and they posted the following on a Facebook Story:

 

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