This is a qualitative ethnographic study of the phenomenon of the temporary public memorials in Uvalde, Texas, that were erected after the mass shooting on May 24, 2022, to answer the research questions: 1. What leads someone to visit and add to a public memorial; 2. What meaning do the memorials convey? Through in-person, on-site interviews, this researcher looked for commonalities in responses to study this phenomenon using symbolic interaction theory. This was a purposeful sampling of fourteen (14) individuals who were interviewed at the sites of the temporary memorials erected in Uvalde, Texas, in response to the shooting. The ethnographic research here and the purposeful sampling of interviews allowed for an understanding of why individuals visit such sites and what meaning visitors derive from the memorials themselves. They have offered a place of mourning, grief, political voice, and shared memories. It is clear the closer someone is to a tragedy, the more they feel compelled to act in some way. In this case, it was traveling to Uvalde to share in grief, political change, and community support by paying tribute to the mass shooting victims at the temporary memorial sites.
Nicole Morris, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, United States