Community stands together in light of election results


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Students shed tears and held tight to their candles as night descended upon UVM’s campus.

“How many of you are scared?” first-year Manza Campaz said.

Multiple students raised their hand and embraced one another as they talked about the results of the 2016 Presidential Election.

“Well I am not,” Campaz said. “It sounds weird but looking at us standing side by side, if we love and love absolutely we have nothing to fear.”

Campaz stood in front of over 100 UVM students at a Candlelight Vigil entitled “Unity, Hope and Love” in front of the Davis Center.

Student leaders addressed the concerns of many students about the election Nov. 9 at 5:00 p.m.

The goal of the vigil was to provide support for students in the wake of the election results.vigil1

The event lasted about a half an hour. It was hosted by Campaz as well as first-year Rose Chase and senior Kate Flynn who gave speeches with the goal of providing comfort to students.

“This is not a time for despair, judgement or anger,” Flynn said. “Only through empathy, compassion and respect can we overcome.”

“Today is the day America grows up, finally. You see, the sun didn’t shine today but maybe that just means that today is not the day that we come to that resolve. But, like i said, it is the final stride to achieving that true free America,” Campaz said.

Then, the students began chanting.

“Today we rise, we the people, stand together, love one another, accept each other, this is our America, I will keep my head up, I will smile, we will fight for freedom, together,” they said, repeating after Campaz.

Students then stood together with lit candles as Chase lead them in a song of “Amazing Grace.”

Many had tears in their eyes while others joined in song.

 

Afterward, SGA President Jason Maulucci, Vice President Tyler Davis, and UVM graduate former SGA president Aya AL-Namee spoke.

“I see far more here that unites us,” Maulucci said. “At UVM we aspire to be a community that admires respect.”

Their speeches referenced the words engraved on the stone artwork outside of the David Center and how they embody UVM students:

Respect, Integrity, Innovation, Openness, Justice and Responsibility

There were many students who expressed their gratitude toward this event and UVM in general in regards to the actions the University has taken after the election.

“Today was a day of mourning.” first-year Phylicia Hodges said. “But, I like that I can be in a safe space where people are coming together.”

Standing next to her was friend Kelayah Gregg, another first-year.

“I am honestly speechless in regards to the election outcome,” Gregg said. “However, I appreciate UVM’s culture. We have all created a space to unite and reflect.”  

The gathering of students did not disperse immediately after the event. Many stayed around to comfort one another and express their opinions about the election.

“I am disappointed such a tyrannical demagogue was elected,” Sophomore Rachel White said.

“I was expecting more from America.”

Even the sign held by first-year Isaac Lee did not go down after the candles were blown out.

“Stand together, love will prevail,” Lee’s sign stated.

Students were left with the following words said by Campaz.

“Just like these candles, do not let your lights die out,” Campaz said. “Today marks the day we make a final stride toward a true free America.”

Sophomore Akilah Ho-Young, a student who lead the recent Black Out rally in support of Black Lives Matter Sept. 26, said she attended the vigil.

“I couldn’t help but cry. I have a bunch of emotions that I’m not quite sure where to channel them,” Ho-Young said. “There is hope when things seem hopeless.”

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The “Love Trumps Hate” Rally was started by sophomore Emily Flaherty. Flaherty was “motivated to do this by anger and sadness and [a desire] to find a way I can help in my community,” she said.

Flaherty said she pictures the event as a quiet gathering, and that signs and apparel are welcomed.

“This event is going to be a place to process these results and a place for the community to have its voice be heard,” she said. “There’s power in numbers and the more voices that we raise the better we can show that this is not okay with us.”