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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Campus

SGA hosts candlelight vigil in memory of Uvalde victims


Students and members of SGA honoring the victims of the Robb Elementary shooting. | Malachi Key/The Cougar

The Student Government Association held a candlelight vigil to commemorate the Uvalde shooting victims. 

The event hosted in conjunction with several other student organizations, was open to all students and featured speeches from student leaders, a prayer and some time for quiet reflection as attendees lit candles.

As the crowd gathered, several students took time to reflect on what’s changed in the several years since the last major push for gun reform in the wake of the Parkland shootings. 

“I was at the March for Our Lives event, and it felt like people got tired when politicians didn’t do anything so they stopped showing up,” said creative writing sophomore Fronia Kemper. “This time feels like a different energy though, and I hope it is. There’s only so many times this can happen before people get pushed to their breaking point.”

As attendees trickled into the Student Center, several took the time to gawk at a large truck parked near the event. Each side of the truck was covered in LED billboards that slowly flashed harrowing slogans like “hands up” and “dead at school.” 

The truck was on campus as part of an art installation put together by artist Jenny Holzer and was previously featured at the NRA convention protest earlier that day. Before the candlelight vigil began, several students posed for a picture in front of the piece.

The event officially began with a speech from SGA president Joshua Martin, in which he urged students to put aside partisanship and work together to look for a solution to the epidemic of school shootings.

“This is not a Democrat issue or a Republican issue, it’s an American issue,” Martin said. “No matter what political side you align with, children being murdered in our schools is not acceptable, and we need to work together to put a stop to it once and for all.”

Several other students spoke, including SGA senate speaker Aryana Azizi, urging students to seek help if they are struggling to process the recent events. 

“When you see tragedy after tragedy, it’s hard not to let that affect your mental health,” Azizi said . “There are resources out there and there is help. Even when things seem at their darkest, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Finally, attendees were given candles to light as SGA CLASS senator Marie McGrew led the crowd in a brief prayer.  McGrew concluded the ceremonies by encouraging students to find a way to take action, even if it feels daunting.

“If you’re tired of protesting, give. If you’re tired of giving, vote,” McGrew said. “Not everyone is meant to be on the front lines. There are different parts in a movement, but everyone has a role. Figure out what your part is and do it.”

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