Photo credit: Ari Markstein Designs
Nineteen children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24th of this year. Stephanie Phillips released “The Last Word” earlier this month to commemorate the innocent lives lost.
The West Chester, Pennsylvania-based artist recorded the single in Philadelphia with the help of her recording engineer Josh Lis and percussionist Thomas Kelly. The song starts by taking us through the lives of some of the school children and letting the listener in on little details like their favorite candy and their dream careers. The first verse goes:
She loved lollipops
And Pixi sticks
And wanted to be a marine biologist
He loved cars and sports
And played little league
And wanted to go to the police academy
These details feel incredibly chilling and could even make some listeners a bit uncomfortable. But that is the point. Phillips wants her listeners to acknowledge that the Uvalde children had grand lives ahead of them. They had ambitions that were wrongfully taken away from them.
The pre-chorus and chorus take a firm call to action.
But now they are gone
And we are to blame
We’ll never move on
If it all stays the same
Phillips says, “This song is a battle cry for change and should be the anthem for those who are fighting to stop the hold that guns have on this country.” While the lyrics are tough to swallow, Philip’s voice carries a refreshing positivity that we could all use as we battle the gun violence terrorizing the U.S. Her tone is light and airy and feels like a warm hug to those who lost friends and family to the shooting.
Listening to “The Last Word” is a great way to keep the Uvalde shooting victims in our memory. It is a constant reminder that our fight to end gun violence is not over and to not let these tragedies become “things of the past”.
Reviewed by Gabriela Huselton
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