Clock Tower

Students at the Missouri Western Clocktower on November 1, 2022. The students shared their stories of gun violence and connected with their peers at the Candle Light

On Oct. 24, 2022, tragedy struck close to home. At the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, a gunman opened fire on campus, killing two and injuring seven.


This tragedy inspired Nylicia Burley, the president of the Black Student Union at Missouri Western, to hold an event in which students and faculty could come together to mourn and speak freely with their peers.


Before students went to the clock tower for the memorial, Jaymar Carson performed a rap that he had written in which he discussed the issue of gun violence in America. Carson was inspired to attend the event and share his words because he is from St. Louis and has a cousin who attends Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.


“Unfortunately he [Carson's cousin] was there during the shooting himself,” Carson said. “He wasn’t injured, but it felt too close to home for me not to go [to the event].”


At the event, many students stepped forward to share their stories of gun violence. The number of people just at the St. Louis school affected by gun violence is unsettling. 


Nina King is a student at Missouri Western. King shared a spoken word piece at the event and expressed sadness over the number of people affected.


“I have lost people from gun violence,” King said. “And when people come and talk about it, it’s just heartbreaking to know that other people have to live with this struggle too.”


Burley expressed her belief that gun violence, specifically school shootings, is not a racial issue, as these shootings are usually not aimed at a specific race.


“A bullet has no eyes. It sees no skin color,” Burley said. “You shouldn’t have to be scared to go to school, regardless of what race you are.”


Another speaker at the event was Dr. Nuchelle Chance, a psychology professor at Missouri Western. Chance shared statistics on gun violence in the United States. Chance also encouraged all students to support each other in our community during these times of rampant violence in our country. 


“On the micro scale, students can be more intentional to communicate with each other,” Dr. Chance said. “Get out of your comfort zone and go talk to someone new. You never know what experiences they have been through and how you may connect with them. Practice self-care and be kind to yourself and those around you”.


The latest school shooting in St. Louis has turned into yet another statistic, further driving the point that there is an alarming problem with gun violence in the United States. 


As gun violence continues to affect our country, what we can do at a local level is vote and continue to support each other. 


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