UB students hold candlelight vigil for Las Vegas shooting victims
Muslim Student Association organizes vigil to honor victims
Students gathered Tuesday night outside the Student Union for a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
On Oct. 1, a shooter opened fire on concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. At least 58 people were killed and close to 500 were injured before the gunman shot and killed himself. The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. modern history, according to CNN.
UB’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) organized the vigil and members wrote the names of the victims on posters on the tables. Students passing by signed their names in honor of the victims.
Mohammed Siddiqi, a junior psychology major and president of MSA explained the importance of holding a vigil for victims in Buffalo, far from the horror of the Vegas massacre.
“We want to show our support of this event, no one is alone during a time like this,” Siddiqi said. “We're unified and together, just because one person is struggling doesn't mean we all don't feel the struggle. This may have happened so far from Buffalo, but some events transcend distance.”
Siddiqi also hopes that MSA sets a positive example for Muslims in the media and other students on campus.
“As Muslims, we have a lot of scrutiny and our problem is the negative portrayal of us in the media,” Siddiqi said. “We're asking people to show their support, but we're all brothers and sisters, someone's daughter or son. We all share a human connection; race, religion and skin color don't matter, but human emotion to one another does.”
Those who stopped by and lit a candle saw the importance and significance of the vigil.
Arvin Ramjanam, a junior finance major, thinks it’s important for students to come together especially during a time of tragedy.
“It was obviously a major event that happened. There's not a lot we can do, but by signing this it shows we're aware and supporting those in need,” Ramjanam said. “We're just students and we have our opinions, we can't do much but every small action of love can spark a bigger movement.”
Ramjanam wishes more students stopped by to sign posters or light candles but acknowledged less students are passing through the union when the vigil began at 6:00 p.m.
People across the country have held similar vigils to mourn the death of victims and send their condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones.
This was a small-scale event, but members of the MSA believe if students should help and raise awareness.
Hamza Aamir, a junior psychology major and member of MSA, doesn’t want to see mass shootings become a societal norm. He was proud of his club’s efforts to raise awareness of the event.
“We just want to shed light on the horrors that have been happening, these are just regular people attending a concert, but ended up dead. People should be allowed to enjoy concerts without worrying about being shot,” Aamir said.
Aamir and other members of the MSA feel that it is their personal mission to make sure these victims aren’t forgotten.
“There’s been so much horror lately. It's part of our job to shed light on this,” Aamir said. “So many people died and it already feels so long ago, we can't just forget about this. We don't want this to be a normal thing.”
MSA is continuing their support for those in need on Friday Oct. 13 during their event Walk With Us, a walk from North to South Campus to raise awareness for Rohingya Muslims in Burma.
The walk starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Capen Loop.
Max Kalnitz is the senior features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org