Over 60 UCSB students and community members gathered in Storke Plaza yesterday to mourn the victims of the recent shootings in Arizona.
The vigil honored the six victims of the Jan. 8 tragedy in Tucson. Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old Tucson resident, opened fire on nineteen people during a congressional meet-and-greet with U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords earlier this month.
Yesterday’s event of remembrance included musical performances and speeches focused on peaceful protest and the dangers of violent rhetoric.
Rhandy Siordia, Associated Students major events coordinator, said the association felt deeply saddened by the tragedy and therefore passed legislation rebuking the incident.
“We find that when negative things happen, vigils are a good way to unite students,” Siordia said. “The best we can do is find a silver lining and remember the power of words.”
The capella group Naked Voices initiated the event with the national anthem. Student musicians Madison Medeiros, a third-year political science major, and Jack Crosbie, a third-year political science and history major, then performed a rendition of the Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife 3.”
Following the presentations, Aaron Jones, A.S. associate director for community affairs, discussed how students can cope with grief.
“I think we — people as a collective — don’t have really good ways to deal with death and tragedies,” Jones said. “It’s hard to grip with at times. A vigil is a show of solidarity and to send a collective push of positivity in negative times.”
The A.S. Community Affairs Board also distributed small brochures with pictures of the victims during the event and read aloud each individual’s biography.
Tiffany Valle, a first-year psychology major, said she had not heard of the shooting until University Announcements sent her an e-mail addressing the disaster.
“I immediately looked it up,” she said. “I actually expected more people to come [to the vigil]. This is something important.”