MC community participates in #Enough walkout
MC community participates in #Enough National School Walkout
March 14, 2018
They walked out and encouraged people to continue to act for peace.
More than 150 members of the Maryville College community – students, faculty and staff – gathered at the College’s Covenant Stone today at 10 a.m. to show their solidarity with the national #Enough National School Walkout initiative that is pushing for greater safety measures in schools and other public places.
Peace and World Concerns and the Progressive Christian Community, two MC student organizations, organized and led the event, which lasted 17 minutes in weather that started with snow flurries and ended with sunshine.
“This morning is just a piece of a movement that is much bigger than what is happening here on this campus,” said Jacob Williams ’19, a junior sociology and economics double major and co-chair of Peace and World Concerns. “It is a movement that has inspired voices across the nation to acknowledge societal issues that are ongoing within the United States.
“… the topic of gun violence and how to go about properly implementing gun safety has been a very divisive topic, and I would emphasize that figuring out the solution to gun rights is not why are here this morning.”
The intent of the event, according to Williams and co-chair Ariel Kaylor ’19, was to memorialize lives that have been lost, to find common ground in the need for students to learn in safe environments, and to encourage all people to commit to activities and behaviors that promote peace.
Standing behind 17 empty chairs that symbolized the 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, MC students read names and short biographies of victims killed exactly one month ago. The Rev. Dr. Anne McKee, campus minister, offered prayers for grieving families and loved ones in Florida, and also those in Kentucky, Nevada, California, Texas and Colorado, where recent shootings have claimed the lives of other innocent people.
Williams said that memories of the high school students should not fade with the headlines.
“I believe that it is safe to say that one thing we can all agree on is that we want to keep one another and those close to us as safe as possible,” he said. “We meet to offer up our voices among the others who are tired of seeing lives needlessly lost to violence.”
Kaylor, a psychology and human resource management double major, invited participants to each take an index card and marker to write down one way in which they could “create a more peaceful space within [themselves], this community and the world.” About 120 cards were collected by the end of the event, with commitments ranging from “always try to make others feel welcomed and loved” to “spread positivity everywhere I go.”
Williams, Kaylor and others will put the cards on display in various areas of campus as a reminder of the event and the tragedies that it memorialized.
Following the event, Kaylor said she was pleased with the turnout and that it brought people together without being politically charged.
“I think there was a mood of solemnness and remembrance, but also of solidarity,” she said.
Written by Karen Beaty Eldridge '94, Executive Director for Marketing & Communications
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.