Chattanooga students hold vigil for Texas high school shooting victims
A Chattanooga student group is honoring the victims from the Texas school shooting.
Chattanooga Students Leading Change hosted a vigil at the old Hamilton County courthouse for the 10 people who died last week.
Ten pillars for ten victims.
There were flowers for the two teachers killed in the Santa Fe High School shooting. A cap and gown were there for the eight students who never had the chance to graduate.
"They were taken right before their graduation. It's one of the most important moments in someone's life and they didn't get to have it. It's something that was taken from them," Zachary Oppengar, a CCA student said.
Oppengar is part of the group called Chattanooga Students Leading Change. It includes students from different schools in the area who hope another community doesn't experience heartbreak.
The vigil is one way they said the victims will always be remembered.
"It makes it more real. We are in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It's pretty far away from Texas, but having them here as much as we can really makes it real for the people here in Chattanooga," Lauren Tolbert, a CSAS student said.
The vigil caught the attention of Elizabeth Phillips and her nice who were walking by the old Hamilton County courthouse.
"It sends a powerful message, yes, especially if you have a heart," Phillips said.
Phillips has grandchildren. She worries about violence happening in one of their schools.
"All children deserve to be safe. They all deserve it," Phillips said.
Each pillar also had a poster describing the victims and a picture. A candle was there for people to pay their respects.
The students who organized the vigil believe it could make a meaningful impact.
"To mourn, but to also say how can we pray? How can we reflect, but also what meaningful action can we take to ensure this doesn't happen again?," Oppengar said.
The group plans to hold a forum for students to talk about gun violence sometime before the upcoming school year.