North Texas Daily

Candlelight vigil held at Clark Park for mass shooting victims

Candlelight vigil held at Clark Park for mass shooting victims

Candlelight vigil held at Clark Park for mass shooting victims
August 22
12:33 2019

Around 30 people attended a candlelight vigil held in Clark Park Wednesday night to honor the victims of the mass shootings in California, El Paso and Dayton. 

At the vigil, attendees were given an opportunity to show their support for the victims, survivors and communities involved.

“One of the things that we have tried to do with the office is to be of assistance to student organizations and student groups that represent different communities on our campus community,” Elijah Cumpton, the coordinator for the UNT Office of Spiritual Life, said. “When there’s something that happens that has a negative impact, whether it’s right here at home or around the world, we try to enable our students to make space to process, grieve and raise awareness.” 

Cumpton began the service by passing around a list of the 34 victims who lost their lives at the previous mass shootings in California, Ohio and Texas.

Students had the opportunity to read the list of victims and were able to talk about how they felt about the recent violence and the people who were killed.

Following the student speakers, a moment of silence was held to pay in respect to the victims and the communities and family members of those who were impacted by the shootings.

Prior to the service, Cumpton said that he reached out to many different representatives from student organizations across campus and the UNT Police Department, inviting them to speak at the event and help distribute candles and resource flyers.  

As the representative from the Hispanic Student Association, junior Mariah Razo spoke about the recent shootings and paid tribute to the victims from each event.  

Razo said that one thing that stuck out to her from the event was that UNT has a deeper meaning of inclusivity that is accepting of, but not limited to different ethnicities, religions and backgrounds.

“This particular event really showcased that we genuinely do stand in unity and support one another,” said Razo.  

Senior Christopher Labra, a member of the Lambda Theta Phi Lambda Fraternity Inc., attended the candlelight vigil in support of the lives lost and talked about his frustrations about modern day violence. Labra said that one of his brothers thought of the idea to come together and partake in the vigil.  

“It’s so upsetting. This is something that should be talked about in our modern world of political agenda, but nothing has changed,” Labra said. “If not now, then when?” 

Lieutenant Jeremy Polk, speaking on behalf of the patrol division from the UNT Police Department, came to the event and said that no matter what, there is always someone to go to.

Coming and speaking as a UNT alumn, former faculty member at the university, a current staff member in the police department and the parent of an incoming freshman, Polk also talked about his concerns on the issues placed at hand.  

“I think events like this are fantastic,” Polk said. “This group of core people, who probably take notice of things that go around the campus, take action immediately.”

Polk said the only way to “plan for prevention is strictly by vigilance.”

“Unfortunately, we can’t predict the who or even the when in these types of situations, no matter how hard we train for them, and must rely on the actions of the students,” he said. “I believe it’s super important for the students to remain vigilant and if they see something, say something.”  

Featured Image: Attendees of the Vigil Against Violence hold candles while standing in a circle, waiting for the list of victims names to make it to them. Hosts of the event asked the attendees to each say a name in memory of the lives lost. Image by: Isabel Anes

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Natalie Ochoa

Natalie Ochoa

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