Students, faculty and staff came together in the University Union (UU) Plaza on Tuesday, April 23 to honor those killed or injured in recent global acts of violence. Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Student Government and the Dean of Students hosted the vigil.
The vigil follows the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 320 people and injured over 500 more. Although, these bombings were not the only reason why the vigil was hosted. About 15 people were in attendance.
ASI Chair of the Board of Directors and environmental management and protection junior Mark Borges said the vigil also included the New Zealand mosque shootings in March that killed 50 people.
“We decided to open [the vigil] up,” Borges said. “That’s why we’re calling it a vigil for victims of violence, to be all-encompassing of the hateful crimes that have happened over the past few months.”
Campus minister at the Newman Catholic Center Gerry Robinson spoke at the vigil. Although the Sri Lanka bombings are an attack on the Christian community, Robinson said this isn’t a lesson only Christian students can learn from.
“Anyone can be a victim, be it a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, you name it. This isn’t a message just for Christians, it’s a message for everyone,” Robinson said. “It’s not like they’re at risk and we’re not.”
Robinson said that as a campus community, it is important for people to strengthen one another, especially in the face of violent acts.
Mechanical engineering junior Annica Navarro said she decided to come to the vigil because she thinks it is important for the campus to come together to support one another through these difficult times.
“[The vigil] made me realize the importance of reaching out to individuals in our classes and building those bridges with people to make people feel supported,” Navarro said. “People might act out because they don’t understand where people are coming from, and getting to know people’s stories is such a beautiful thing even if we can’t fully relate to that.”