Thursday, September 5, 2013

Students organize moving candlelight vigil for Telkia Burns

On Tuesday September 3rd fifty students and faculty were joined by ten members of Telkia Burns’ family to celebrate his life and mourn his premature death as a result of street violence. Two things made this a remarkable event. First, several speakers were intimately part of Telkia’s life and loved him for the good man he was; they spoke of his military service, his devotion to his family, his determination to pursue his college education, and the many gifts of friendship that he gave to others. We were moved by this tribute to Telkia Burns.

Second, the event was entirely the result of student initiative and organizing. It showed the remarkable ability students have to do something significant to honor a friend. The candles were there. Someone brought paper plates so that hot wax would not drip on our hands. The organizers had prepared an agenda so that the tribute would unfold in an orderly way. They had planned how attendees could help the family without students’ having any involvement with any donations. The amphitheater to the south of the cafeteria glowed and sparkled with candlelight as students and faculty listened respectfully to the moving tributes to Telkia and the condemnation of the violence that ended his life and that of many others. This student initiative was made all the more remarkable because the administration had sought to discourage this wonderful event.

All who worked to organize the vigil and make it a success are to be commended!

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