Becky Kimmel

Since Sunday afternoon, many of you have probably noticed the rows of t-shirts hanging on crosses in the middle of campus. And many of you have probably wondered what they are. I sat down with Madi Keaton, HRA director, to answer these questions for you. Chapel tonight (Tuesday) will be led by Heeding God’s Call if you are interested in learning more about the memorial and the organization.

Q: What is it?

A: The “Memorial to the Lost” is a travelling memorial made and installed by the organization “Heeding God’s Call.” Each memorial is specific to the city/general area of where it is installed, with the purpose of memorializing those who have died at the hands of an illegal handgun. Each t-shirt you see represents one of those people, with their name, age and date of death. There are 113 total in this memorial.

Q: Why is it here?

A: This memorial is not connected to the recent mass shootings or school shootings. These t-shirts represent real people from our community who have died at the hands of a gun. This memorial is a way to honor and remember those people and provide a space for prayer and contemplation of our role as Christians among these troubling circumstances.

Q: How long will it be at Messiah?

A: The memorial will be on campus until Sunday, April 22.

Q: What can I do?

A: Interact with the memorial in respectful ways. If you’re interested in the mission, you can contact Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence (via their Facebook or website.) They often need people to do research on different gun shops selling guns illegally or community outreach.

Q:Is this connected to the walkout?

A: This memorial has been planned since last semester, while the walk-out was planned separately at a later time in response to recent mass shootings. They both happened to fall during the same week. The memorial will serve as the meeting point for the walk-out and both are advocating for an empathetic and Christ-like response to gun violence, regardless of political affiliation or stance on gun control. Gun violence is plaguing communities all across America and it’s clear that any life lost is wrong and something to mourn for. Something needs to change.