Loyola’s Black Cultural Center honored all those affected by Chicago’s ongoing violence in a candlelight vigil on Oct. 25.
The vigil, held at 5:45 p.m. on the East Quad, brought together about 50 students with the purpose of recognizing the violence in Chicago and all the lives that have been lost because of it.
More than 600 homicides have occurred in Chicago so far this year, according to Chicago Police Department data.
Zoe Fisher, a Loyola senior and the president of Black Cultural Center, said she wanted to hold the event to “really recognize all of these people that are miles away from us” whose lives are gone.
“Every person’s life counts and it’s important that we think about them,” said the 20-year-old journalism major. “Because they are a part of our community, they are a part of our Loyola experience.”
Fisher said she appreciated that different school offices and groups from Loyola, such as the Provost’s Office and the psychology department, sponsored the vigil’s candles.
The Black Cultural Center opened the vigil with various performances and speeches by student volunteers.
The first performance was a dance, and the four performers were dressed in all black. Laura Prieto, one of the dancers, said the Loyola community has an obligation to look out for one another.
“It is our responsibility to be there for each other and support each [other] and be really aware of what’s going on to give people the respect they deserve in the community,” the senior exercise science major said.
The second performer, 19-year-old sophomore Trevaughn Latimer, agreed with Prieto.
“We can sometimes distance [ourselves] from all the violence that’s going on in Chicago,” Latimer said. “I think it’s important for us to all have in mind that there are people who may know it, but don’t speak about it.”
Latimer, an economics and psychology double major, sang “The Angels Are Watching Over Us.” His contribution was followed by another student reciting a poem.
“We are standing in solidarity,” said sophomore Ayomide Ogunsola, another student present at the vigil.
“If anyone had the answer, I feel like we’d have already done something, but I think [it’s] a matter of just staying in conversation and then just going out to the communities where [deaths] do happen,” the 19-year-old health systems management major said.
Fisher said she is very grateful for all the people who attended.
“I want people who are really critical of black-on-black crime and police brutality to also be here supporting us and coming and showing support for the community,” she said. “Criticism is great, but if doesn’t come with action and it doesn’t come with change, then it’s null.”