Approximately 60 students gathered on the steps of Rush Rhees Library Wednesday evening in solidarity for the victims of the Apr. 15 Boston Marathon bombings. The vigil was organized by freshman Emily Sumner and sophomore Rachel Goldberg, both Boston residents.
“Nobody was stepping up, and we felt like someone needed to take action,” Sumner said. She explained that for her, it wasn’t about the numbers — that even if it had been herself and Goldberg at the vigil, she still would have felt better knowing that something had been said.
A number of Rochesterians ran in the marathon, including Nora Dimmock, a librarian in the Digital Humanities Center. Dimmock was two kilometers away from the finish line when the bombs exploded, according to News10NBC, but made it safely back to Rochester, along with family members who were there to support her.
Students gradually congregated on the steps of Rush Rhees. The flags at the end of the Eastman Quadrangle were lowered to half mast. Each attendee was given an electric candle to hold throughout the vigil. As the sky grew darker, a little after 8 p.m., the crowd fell silent as Sumner and Goldberg addressed those in attendance.
They read a short statement before asking for a moment of silence for the runners who were unable to finish the marathon, loved ones affected by the tragedy, those injured in the bombings, the three victims who lost their lives, and for those who have been affected by all hate crimes, terrorist attacks, and wars around the world.
The crowd then stood in silence for about a minute, some students with their heads bowed, others with their eyes closed.
“It’s a sad thing … it seemed like a nice gesture to come out,” junior Jeff Williams said.
Senior Kylie Bellis had a personal connection to the tragedy.
“I’m a runner, and I thought that it would be nice to come and support everyone who was affected,” she said.
Senior Rosie Cardoso pointed out the importance of taking a moment to reflect on the bombing since it is “so easy” to forget about tragedies such as this one, although she expressed a desire for students to allow themselves to do so outside of a group setting as well.
Goldberg thought that the vigil was a success and said that she felt better having participated, noting that “more people came out than we ever imagined, and that’s really great.”
She felt “it’s moments like these when you realize how many people really do care.”
Goldin is a member of the class of 2013.