The Cougar Chronicle

Candlelight vigil honors victims of violence

The display at the candlelight vigil commemorates the victims of recent shootings.

The display at the candlelight vigil commemorates the victims of recent shootings.

Courtesy of Csusm_oie

Courtesy of Csusm_oie

The display at the candlelight vigil commemorates the victims of recent shootings.

Antonio Pequeño IV, News Editor

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Students and club presidents gathered in the Forum Plaza for a candlelight vigil held in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Tree of Life Synagogue and Kentucky Kroger shootings.


The Kroger shooting occurred on Oct. 24 and claimed the lives of two while the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, which occurred three days later, claimed the lives of 11.


On Nov. 1, the anti-semitic synagogue gunman pleaded not guilty to 44 federal charges including murder, hate crimes, obstructing religious practice and other crimes. The Kroger gunman, who unsuccessfully attempted to enter a predominantly Black church before the shooting, was charged with two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment.


The vigil had a table covered in candlelights for students to take and also featured a poster board lined with pictures of the synagogue shooting victims. President of Chabad CSUSM, RJ Gordon-Zimmerman gave the opening remarks.


“Just to be here tonight shows how as a nation and as human beings, we are trying to bring about a peaceful and more aware…world,” said Gordon-Zimmerman. “Chabad at CSUSM remains committed to honoring the memory of these victims by continuing to provide a meaningful and home-like environment to any student, who wants to connect, and learn about the Jewish culture or express their Jewish identity.”


Sophie Nadler, the president of Hillel CSUSM followed up Zimmerman’s opening and said, “I’ve never been so supported by my school. I’ve had multiple professors reach out to me, the Dean of Students, all of the centers…  just offering support for myself and my club and any other people that have been affected by this… I’ve never been more proud to be Jewish.”


President of the Black Student Union, Daniel “Kunta” Phair called for unity in a time of mourning and despair. He said, “We all have things that we need to deal with but we need to come together and tackle them [once] at a time. As we see, there’s been an ingenious and evil design to keep us separated and divided so that we are continuously fighting each other.”


President Samantha Caracciolo of The Feminist Collective CSUSM spoke on the vigil itself. “In the groups and spaces I am a part of, we believe in friendship, justice, learning and the power of coalitions,” said Caracciolo. “We were driven to create this event because [we] know it is important for communities to embrace one another in moments of tragedy… There’s a part of me that didn’t want to have to do this vigil, because it shouldn’t have happened.”


The candlelight vigil concluded with a reading of the names of those lost in the respective shootings.

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