JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — “No more mandates. No more quarantines. No more censorship.”
The above serves as just a few demands of a private Facebook group that rallied in downtown Johnson City on Friday night to fight for what they feel is their freedom being challenged by recent mask mandates.
Two dozen community members banded together at King Commons to voice the belief that mask mandates are harmful and overreaching.
News Channel 11 spoke with the rally’s organizer, Danielle Goodrich, who’s a mother of three young children who are required to wear masks in school.
“I have a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 7-year old, and they’re coming home with spaghetti sauce all over their masks so they just had to wear spaghetti sauce on their face all day,” Goodrich said. “They’re putting their masks on the ground; it’s actually going to be more of a breeding ground for sickness than it is going to be a preventative, and we don’t agree with it.”
A U.S. Army veteran noted that Friday night, which marked the 19th anniversary since the 2001 terrorist attacks, was a night to remember the attacks while practicing his rights as a U.S. citizen.
“[9/11] made me realize how much I love this country and what I’d do to fight for it, and you kind of see that same tyranny in America today,” Eric Carico said. “You want patriots to rise up and have their voices be heard when stuff like that happens and 9/11 commemorates that for us to be able to come together and speak our hearts.”
Organizer Goodrich added: “We wanted to get together and we wanted to do it on a day that was significant, and 9/11 is significant as a day in this country that our freedom was challenged and we feel like our freedom is under attack right now, and we feel like our personal liberties are under attack,” Goodrich said.
Another rally goer said that he attended the rally to fight for the small businesses who continue to reap the effects from the pandemic.
“It’s been pretty hard just from seeing your mom and pop stores that are kind of having to force to close down because they’re not labeled essential, which you can go to any other major hardware stores — your Lowe’s, your Home Depots — and those are still open for business,” Tyler McCann said. “So, I just don’t think it’s that fair to have to say well, mom and pop’s hardware store down the street has to close, but our major retailers, they can stay open.
McCann also yearns for his son to grow up in a familiar world without mask mandates.
“I have a 2-year-old and he says ‘mask,’ and it’s like, I mean, that’s not the way I want him to grow up,” McCann said.