Gun violence survivors and activists host cleanup at Zaevion Dobson Memorial Park


KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE)- Survivors of gun violence and activists hosted a cleanup of Zaevion Dobson Memorial Park to celebrate life, fellowship, and honor survivors of gun violence as a part of the Wear Orange campaign.

Zaevion’s mom, Zenobia continues to share her son’s story to fight against gun violence. Dobson believes it’s important that children in her community have a safe place to play.

She made it her mission to create the Zaevion Dobson Memorial Park after losing her son back in 2015.

“This park was a dark place once upon a time when Zaevion’s life was taken here,” she said. “I thought long and hard about the safety of children and friends coming together and having a good time because that’s what kids do. They have no worries.”

Dobson was one of many gun violence activists at the park on Saturday making sure that it was not only safe but clean.

“Moms Demand Action we wear orange to honor those who have lost their lives and have been affected by gun violence,” explained Terry Walker Smith, an Everytown Survivor Fellow who lost two sons to violence in 2007 and 2009. “So we didn’t get to do anything last year because of the COVID and this year it was to do something nature-wise and greenery. So we just decided to come out and clean the Zaevion Dobson Park.”

These two moms work together as part of Tennessee’s fight against gun violence by volunteering to create a better community.

“We know that many have been affected just as we have and to keep their memory alive and to keep what happened to them we turn tragedy into advocacy work,” added Walker Smith.

Walker Smith and Dobson do so by sharing their sons’ stories with the community and lawmakers. Though Dobson’s son is no longer here, Zenobia hopes that a now cleaner park that was made in Zaevion’s honor will bring smiles to children’s faces in her community and give them a safe place to go.

“Our children should be protected at school, they should be protected at home, and children should be able to live their lives with no worries,” said Dobson. “We as leaders, we as mothers want to make sure that happens.”

This is the seventh annual Wear Orange campaign. The nationwide campaign happens every June to honor survivors of gun violence but also to demand action to end gun violence across the country.

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