TOPEKA (KSNT) – For nearly a year now, Julie Phillips has been painting rocks with bright hunter orange paint, then hiding them around the Topeka area.
Each rock is inscribed with the name and age of someone whose life was cut short by a gun, whether it be by suicide, a shooting, or they were nearly killed because someone pulled the trigger.
“I’ve worked with so many at-risk youths that have lost their lives to a gun and are judged by their choices,” Julie said.
That’s what Julie told us a year ago during an interview when she was first getting started with about a hundred rocks.
Now she’s created more than 500.
“Almost every single person I know how they died, the circumstances, the situations of their case.”
On the back of every rock is a message encouraging whoever found it to take a picture, post about it in the ‘Say Their Names Rock Project‘ Facebook group.
After posting about it, the instructions are to hide the rock again so someone else can stumble upon it.
“I like to put them everywhere,” Julie said. “Sometimes I leave them by restaurants.”
So far, more than 6 thousand people have joined the Facebook group.
Julie never wanted this project to be about politics, but rather to make people pause, to give them perspective.
“People sometimes think I don’t see the reality, I do, I see the logistics of everything,” she said. “I know not everyone feels the same way I do, not everyone is going to jump on a cause like I would, or, step in to help if you see a problem.”
Maybe even prompting them to learn more about the life of the person whose name will forever be inscribed in black ink on that bright orange rock.
To see a list of the names of every person inscribed on a rock, click HERE.
If you’re interested in submitting a name, Julie recommends joining the Facebook page and posting your request on the page – click HERE to join.