UI students honor Paris victims

By Adam Kaz

Alexis March, senior in LAS, knows she will remember where she was on the evening of Nov. 13.

“Friday night when I was driving to Chicago with my parents I found out about what was going on in Paris, the first attack, and I immediately started contacting my friends and extended family to make sure they were OK,” she said. “As the night went on I just felt like it was really important that we do something here to honor the victims in Paris but also the tragic attacks that have been occurring lately.”

March contacted friends and organized a candlelight vigil on the Main Quad on Wednesday night. She had the help of Emily Sibley, senior in LAS, and Soffia Kuehner-Gray, senior in LAS.

Sibley estimated that more than 50 people came to show their support for France and other countries.

“I think it’s to show our solidarity with France. I think it’s also just to make sure we empathize with France,” Sibley said. “There’s just so many people here. I think the attacks in Paris and Beirut both affected many people. I think you can see that even here, they came here to show their support and stand with Paris and Lebanon.”

Vigil attendees were given a candle in order to show their mourning for the people of France and Beirut. March, Kuehner-Gray and Sibley, gave speeches and a representative of the United Muslim Association spoke for the Lebanese. A moment of silence was also held.

“I think it was very beautiful to have this quiet moment when we could all reflect on what happened, remember those who were lost,” Kuehner-Gray said.

One of the attendees, Lisa Pogue, graduate student in Education, remarked how she hopes this experience can help bring a friendly message to the families of murdered in France.

“I just remember in the wake of 911 all the craziness that happened. I had some friends who were from the Middle East and faced a lot of discrimination,” Pogue said. “I remember all the fear that a lot of people had at that time, and if we can be with the people of France, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iraq as they go through these terrorist attacks, it’s the least we can do.”