Gun safety advocates take to Tennessee streets

By: and - June 11, 2022 4:05 pm
Protesters marched from the Nashville Courthouse to Legislative Plaza during the March For are Lives rally. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Laura Brown stood by a table surrounded by red, white and blue posters with drawings of the U.S. Capitol and a message: “Send a letter to Congress.”

“Hello, would you like to send a letter to the Senate?” she called out.

“I love these things, but people in Congress never seem to hear about them,” Brown said. “This is my bare bones operation to collect letters to our senators and congressmen. I package the letters and send them off.”

Brown was one of more than 1,500 people in Nashville Saturday advocating for stronger gun laws as part of the national March for Our Lives movement.

The group included mothers with babies and young children, student leaders with bullhorns, politicians and those who said they have been protesting for decades.

Angie Jones of Columbia was with one of her daughters and her mother, Beverly Davis of Nashville.

“Mom was active in the Civil Rights movement, now she’s here,” said Jones.

Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, was among the officials attending the event, as was Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville and Metro Nashville Councilmember Freddie O’Connell, who is running for mayor in 2023. Also present were Odessa Kelly, candidate for Congress in the 7th District and legislative candidate Justin Jones.

“Protecting our Second Amendment and enacting common sense gun laws aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Campbell, who is running for Congress in Tennessee’s 5th District. .

The group listened to speeches from student leaders outside the Metro Nashville Courthouse before marching two blocks to convene at Legislative Plaza in front of the Tennessee Capitol.

March for Our Lives is a student-led movement that was created in 2018 after a mass shooter at Marjorie Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. killed 17 people and injured 17 others. Saturday’s event in Nashville was one of hundreds of marches held across the country as a reaction to recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, among others.

(All photographs by John Partipilo.)

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John Partipilo
John Partipilo

Working as a photojournalist for 40 years, Partipilo has won awards such as NPPA Best of Photojournalism and nominated for two Pulitzers. His photography has also been featured in national and international publications. Most importantly Partipilo’s work is about people — people in their different environments and people in their different stages of life. That’s the heart of his work. To him people are so important, because they all have a unique story.