QU community holds vigil after Paris attacks

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The QU community gathered on the Quad to show their support for Paris.

Thamar Bailey

Students and faculty huddled together, holding tight to their burning white candles as they remembered the terrorist attacks in Paris that took the lives of at least 129 people last Friday.

More than 500 Quinnipiac community members congregated on Wednesday, Nov. 18 in front of the Carl Hansen Student Center as different religious figures, Quinnipiac affiliates and the Honorary Consul of France for Connecticut showed support for victims of terrorist violence.

“3,552 miles separate Quinnipiac University from the city of Paris,” Father Jordan Lenaghan, the Catholic Chaplain at Quinnipiac, said. “But though cartographers and geographers tell us that is the distance between our community here this night and the people of the great city of lights we know tonight in our hearts that isn’t the distance. We are together.”

For sophomore Tori Wakefield the attacks on Paris affected her best friend, a Quinnipiac student who lives in the city. Wakefield went to the vigil to show respect for her friend.  

“She’s going through this and she’s not with her family,” Wakefield said. “Her family lives an hour away [from Quinnipiac] so like I’m just in her place here showing support.”

Father Jordan Lenaghan sent a message to all those affected by the violence.

“To the people of Paris, to all of those who suffer this night as the victims of violence you do not stand alone,” Father Lenaghan said. “And as we light a candle at Quinnipiac University in this night no matter where you are in this world we stand with you.”

Madame Isabel Evelein, the Honorary Consul of France for Connecticut, accepted and thanked the Quinnipiac community for attending and paying their respect to the Paris attacks. However, she was adamant about stating that the attacks didn’t just affect Paris physically.

“It’s more than Paris, it is the whole country that is attacked, it’s more than the country. It’s the fundamental values,” Evelein said. “So tonight I would like to also show my support to our value: liberté, egalité and fraternité.”

Liberty, equality and fraternity are core values that belong to people on a global standard. People have the fundamental right to life, liberty and several other rights to universal declarations of human rights, according to Vice President for Academic Innovation and Effectiveness Dr. Annalisa Zinn.

“As we remember the victims in the recent attacks in Paris as well as in Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and many other Christian minority and other communities that have suffered,” Zinn said. “May we too recall our roles and responsibilities as global citizens.”

The Quinnipiac community expresses its commitment as a global citizen via the Great Hunger museum and the human rights courses the university offers.

However, there are some who do not embrace their responsibilities as global citizens.

“Sadly the contemporary narrative of terror so often appropriates with the language in sacred texts to justify its actions,” Father Lenaghan said. “But those same texts also speak to us of peace, harmony and the building of community.”

Rabbi Reena Judd and Muslim Chaplain Nesat Ulusal both testified through text that word of their holy books are sanctified with respect for other people.

Rabbi Judd read a selection from the prophet Isaiah and it read, “And nation shall not lift up sword against nation nor should we ever teach war again.”

Chaplain Ulusal spoke of how the Holy Koran states: If anyone slays a person it would be as if he slay the whole people and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.

Protestant Chaplain Andrew Ober discussed how the New Testament states that light shines in darkness but that darkness cannot overcome that light.

“Let us remember what we stand for,” Ober said. “Let us be people of hope. Let us be people who are better than we were yesterday because we are a part of this academic community at Quinnipiac University.”

Click here for more images from the vigil.