In response to the mass killings that claimed the lives of six victims this past weekend, numerous memorials and forums are being hosted this week to honor the lives of the deceased and to discuss the next course of action for Isla Vista.
Among the upcoming events are a meeting for public safety in Isla Vista Theater at 6 p.m. today and a chalk memorial in front of I.V. Deli tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another event calls for all students to wear blue and gold today to show school pride.
Third-year biology major Molly Morrison, who is a member of the Associated Students Public Safety Commission, said the organization is hosting today’s public forum to bring positive change to Isla Vista.
“We’re having the event because we’re trying to do a lot for the future of I.V. We want to let students know what’s going, what’s the history of I.V., what they can do to change it, what might be of concern to them,” Morrison said. “We can’t make policies. We’re not an activist group, but instead we’re dedicated to enacting public safety.”
According to Morrison, the organization is acting quickly to host the event because the school year is almost over.
“In this time, a lot of these students are still grieving, so one might ask, ‘Why are we having this forum if I still need time to grieve?’” Morrison said. “In response, I’d say that the quarter is ending so soon and that these problems are going to be in the spotlight forever, so we have to act now and pave the way for a better future while we have the opportunity to.”
Fourth-year theater major Erin Elizabeth Davison, the host of Friday’s chalking in front of I.V. Deli, said she wanted to help others in the aftermath of the massacre.
“Like many others, I was looking for a way to reach out. To connect. To do something,” Davison said in an email. “There are so many emotions right now: anger, grief, loss, helplessness, loneliness, fear. Now more than ever it’s important to know that we are not alone.”
Davison said the images of chalk art on the streets of Boston after the 2013 Boston marathon bombings inspired her to host a similar event in Isla Vista.
“I remembered thinking that it was a beautiful way for grievers to express themselves in a healthy way,” Davison said in an email. “It also reaches out to other members of the community, because even if they choose not to be a part of it, they will see the messages and know they’re not alone.”
According to Davison, the act of expressing oneself artistically can be immensely therapeutic regardless of how the art is made.
“Expressing yourself in writing or art, not only helps you commit your thoughts and feelings to something tangible, but the simple act of using your arm, hand, eyes and heart to make something real is extremely therapeutic,” Davison said in an email.
Davison said the significance of chalk as an artistic medium is its inherent impermanence.
“Even though this tragedy has struck so many and will live on in our hearts forever, in the end, everything gets ‘washed away,’” Davison said in an email. “The chalk, and the beautiful art I know this campus is going to create, like everything else, is not permanent.”
Another memorial to be hosted this week is today’s “Show our Pride on Thursday” event, coordinated on Facebook. According to event host and third-year communication major Ali Sheridan, the event aims to help bring the community together after Friday night’s events.
“I am in awe with how many people are willing [to] come together to share this event and witness the unity of our school,” Sheridan said in an email. “We all will wear the colors and letters of our college with pride, as we heal and grieve together as one.”
Sheridan said she initially had doubts as to how large the turnout for her event would be as it is planned and coordinated through Facebook.
“I had my doubts about how far this event would get, but before I knew it thousands of people were clicking that they were ‘attending’ the event,” Sheridan said in an email. “I should have expected this though considering UCSB and the Isla Vista family are communities that are continually supportive of one another and supported by those around us.”
According to Sheridan, the aftermath of the massacre on Friday has shown the strength of the UCSB community.
“We have seen this through the countless opportunities to stand as one,” Sheridan said in an email. “The memorial walls plastered with signs of remembrance and hope, the jam-packed memorial service, the paddle out in which everyone joined hands, and the thousands of candles and flowers in memory of our six peers that left us all too soon.”
According to Sheridan, UCSB has been strengthened in wake of the incident on Friday.
“We Gauchos are filled with genuine, kind-hearted individuals that create a beautiful community which finds strength even through our darkest times,” Sheridan said in an email. “We live in a broken world and I am beyond thankful that God has brought everyone together through this tragedy and made our little college town even stronger and more supportive of one another.”
A version of this article appeared on page 10 of the Thursday, May 29 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.