University members are holding a candlelight vigil at UCSB tonight to honor the victims of the Jan. 8 shooting in Arizona.
Six people — including a federal judge, a congressional aide and a nine-year-old girl — were killed and 14 others were wounded when Jared Loughner opened fire at a public political event outside a Tucson convenience store. His first target — Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — miraculously survived being shot in the head with a pistol from point-blank range and is in recovery. Associated Students members Rhandy Siordia, Cori Lantz, Rasha Ali and Dana Magallanes organized the vigil for 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Storke Plaza in response to the tragic shooting.
Although the tragedy occurred a state away, fourth-year political science major and External Vice President of Local Affairs Cori Lantz said it is an important situation for the community to address.
“For some reason, I feel like there just has not been a reaction to it,” Lantz said. “I guess I am so used to people being like, ‘Let’s do something about it,’ when it comes to hate crimes, or the suicides last fall.”
According to Siordia, a second-year communication major and A.S. community events coordinator, the vigil will speak about the lives of those involved in order to facilitate positive recovery.
“Each vigil is a little bit different depending on what people want to emphasize, but the emphasis here is the lives of the people — to celebrate those lives,” Siordia said. “I want to focus on kinship and good nature, treating people fairly and equally, which are highly regarded on this campus.”
The vigil will include speakers for each victim of the tragedy as well as a musical tribute. About 100 people are expected to attend the event.
Siordia said the vigil is a chance to rally the campus to oppose violence.
“People are crazy and do crazy things, and you can not prevent that,” Siordia said. “But I think this will be a good way for people to unite. I want people to leave inspired, and to feel ready to be good people.”
Giffords is currently in the hospital in critical condition.