A large and somber crowd of people gathered around Tivoli Commons on July 26 to pay their respects and honor the memory of those lost in the July 20 shooting at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora.
The vigil, organized for and by Auraria students, was held to honor all of the shooting victims, specifically those that were connected to the campus and the schools within. Photos of Alex Sullivan, a CCD graduate; Jessica Ghawi, a MSU Denver student; and Veronica Moser-Sullivan, a 6-year-old who attended an Auraria daycare were surrounded by candles and words of prayer.
The event began with some opening words from MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan, who tried to console the participants.
“It is our responsibility to [the victims] and ourselves to continue what we are here to do, which is change peoples lives for the better,” said Jordan, suggesting that while students should move on from the tragedy, they should still remember those who were lost.
The president’s speech was followed by a the reading of a poem called “We Remember Them,” read by members of the CCD and MSU Denver student government assembly.
Ruth Possehl, Clinical Supervisor of the UCD counseling center, spoke briefly on the impact of the losses that people have endured and the services that were available to students in need of counseling.
“This experience is an ocean of grief” said Possehl, who explained that there are islands of respite, which the students form together in support of those affected by the shooting. As a stronger form of support for the students, the offices of counseling for all three schools had booths at the event.
Afterward, Gordon Hamby, UCD student body president, played a moving song on the guitar, dedicated to the people lost in the shooting. Many people were moved to tears by the lyrics of the song.
The event ended with the releasing of doves alongside bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.”
The Counseling Center at Auraria offers resources for those impacted by the tragedy in Aurora. The center is located on the sixth floor of the Tivoli and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.