Vigil remembers victims, counters anti-Arab fears

Robyn Repya

Crowds overflowed Northrop Plaza on Thursday night to pay homage at a candlelight vigil to the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

“We thought it was important for the University to show everyone that we’re not going to stand for that kind of intolerance,” said Minnesota Student Association Vice President Nick Dehnert. MSA and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly sponsored the event.

Dehnert went on to say the vigil was especially important after hearing of anti-Muslim sentiment on college campuses and around the Twin Cities.

Haleh, a computer science graduate student who asked to be identified by first name only said, “All the Muslims I know are very shocked and sad about it.”

Senior Jennie Eisert said she was fearful for Arab Americans.

Norm Rupp, a junior studying English, said he was attending the rally to calm such fears.

“I’m here to give assurance that we’re not a society that will allow ourselves to be separated and weakened by this,” he said.

“Any kind of rally is cathartic for any individual affected by the tragedy on the East Coast,” said Patrick Pederson, GAPSA vice president.

Sridhar Narasimhan and Jivtesh Garg, both mechanical engineering graduate students, said they came to be with people sharing the same grief. Narasimhan said he had friends just one block from the tragedy. “Yesterday I couldn’t sleep,” he said.

Volunteers for the event passed out packets of Kleenex to crying students.

Taqee Kalheid, president of the Muslim Student Association, spoke before the lighting of the candles. “Use the candle as a symbol of collective understanding,” he said.

MSA President Dan Kelly spoke at the gathering and said, “Tonight we’re here to remember those who have been lost, unite as a University community and to move forward.”

Yellow ribbons were available after the rally for $1, the benefits of which are going to a relief fund.

 

Robyn Repya welcomes comments at [email protected]