In today's Swarthmore Daily Gazette -- the Memorial to the Lost
Installation Memorializes 153 lives lost to Gun Violence
By Kyle McKenny
Late Sunday afternoon I hung a shirt bearing the name Moson Hunt. Hunt was two years old when he was shot and killed last year. His shirt is just one of 153 in the Memorial to the Lost displayed on the field next to the Swarthmore train station and Magill Walk. This installation stands as a solemn remembrance for all of the victims of gun violence in Delaware County in the past five years.
This memorial was started by Heeding God’s Call, a local faith-based group dedicated to mobilizing opposition to today’s prevalent gun violence. The Memorial to the Lost has been featured in other community spaces in Delaware County. Heeding God’s Call brought this memorial to Swarthmore’s campus with the help of Dr. Joyce Tompkins, Swarthmore’s Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the new student group Swarthmore Students for Gun Sense Policy.
Over fifteen volunteers helped erect the memorial this past Sunday. 153 pieces of rebar were hammered into the ground. 153 stands were mounted. 153 shirts were inscribed with the names of victims. These t-shirts recall the lives of these 153 victims.
“[The memorial] distracts us from our intellectualizing with its graphic display. Reading the names, the dates, the ages of these victims of gun violence reminds me that each is a person, a life ended, a grieving family, a devastated community. I find it speaks more pointedly than any article or set of statistics,” Dr. Tompkins said.
Indeed, the physical act of establishing this memorial made me confront the epidemic of gun violence in a tangible way. The majority of these deaths occurred just a few miles away in Chester, but here at Swarthmore I rarely have to consider gun violence as more than an abstract problem.
“Gun homicides are very concentrated in a few poor, mostly black and brown neighborhoods, far from where we live. Most of us who live in safe suburbs have no idea,” Fran Stier, Co-Chair of the Delaware County of Heeding God’s Call, said.