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Meet the high school students behind rallies to end gun violence in Nashville

By Kelsey Gibbs

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) — There were three rallies all led by different organizers after the Covenant School shooting.

Students rallied to honor the lives of The Covenant School victims by asking lawmakers to end gun violence. One of the larger rallies happened last Thursday, prior to an expulsion vote on the House floor of two members.

The conversation started when a group of Hume-Fogg students in the student government association decided more needed to be done to lift their voices and to be heard.

Hume-Fogg High School seniors Eva Tatum and Maya Patel said it’s hard to enjoy their last year of high school with so much going on in Nashville.

“It’s very difficult for us to have a chance to enjoy the senior year and have a chance to be normal teenagers when there’s people that are dying that are younger than us,” said Tatum.

The Covenant School Shooting on March 27 happened just 20 miles from the Hume-Fogg campus — too close to ignore.

“In senior year, nobody was really expecting these school shootings to happen all the time now, but it wasn’t what we were expecting it to be so close to home,” said Patel.

Since the shooting many students, educators and parents have rallied at the capitol to honor the lives of the six victims by advocating to end gun violence.

“Maya said, ‘Why don’t we have a rally? And I said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ Let’s make it all of Nashville. Let’s get all of the schools involved,” said Tatum.

They planned a large rally for Thursday and even got their teachers involved.

“They’re watching our voices be kind of shut down a little bit and the teachers were really there to make sure that we were heard of students because student voices need to be heard,” said Tatum.

Rain or shine people showed up by the hundreds to not only ask for gun reform measures but to also support the three lawmakers facing expulsion votes.

“I know that showing up did something because we are showing up having people there having people in the capitol like you could hear the chanting inside from like the hall and that was really powerful,” Tatum said.

Even though there was no legislation passed these students advocated for they still considered the rally as a success.

“I feel like if we keep going, keep telling them that we need change something will happen. Something has got to happen,” said Tatum. “Because we’ve got representatives in there that want to help us, and they want us to change just as much as we do.”

Students say lifting their voices does not stop when the rallies stop. Tatum and Patel spoke to will be eligible to vote in the next election.

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