Vigil held to remember San Bernardino shooting victims

Courtesy of the Guardian newspaper
Courtesy of the Guardian newspaper

UCR held a vigil on Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. in memorial of the victims in the Dec. 2 Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. Approximately 200 people attended the event to honor the lives of the 14 killed, two of whom were UCR alumni, and 21 injured, two of whom were also UCR alumni.

Sierra Clayborn Courtesy of People magazine
Sierra Clayborn Courtesy of People magazine

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs James Sandoval introduced each of the four speakers, which included: Daniel Kim, president of the UCR Alumni Association, Ashley Harano, president of ASUCR, Lewis Luartz, president of the UCR GSA and Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox.

Sierra Clayborn and Damian Meins were among the 14 killed. Clayborn graduated from UCR in 2010 with a degree in biochemistry and worked as an environmental health specialist for San Bernardino County. Meins graduated with an economics degree in 1978 and worked in public service positions across the Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Denise Peraza and Jennifer Stevens, who were among those injured, are expected to make a full recovery. Peraza graduated in 2013 with a degree in environmental science and works at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. Stevens graduated in 2015 with an environmental science degree while volunteering for Sustainable UCR and playing for the school’s soccer team.

Damian Meins courtesy of NY Daily News
Damian Meins courtesy of NY Daily News

Kim’s speech named each of the alumni who were affected and provided condolences for those close to the victims. “It is with a heavy heart that I stand before you. UCR alumni join together in our sorrow and in our condemnation of violence. We grieve for all of the victims and those affected by this tragedy,” Kim said.

Harano urged students to remember this tragedy in an effort to empower and unite the campus against these acts of violence. “Although we all currently feel very fearful and anxious in response to Dec. 2’s events, it’s necessary to not stand idly, allowing this tragedy to leave our minds amidst finals and winter break approaching. At this time it’s even more necessary to unite as a university, between other student leaders, staff and administration, being proactive to ensure that UCR and our community to be a safe place,” Harano elaborated.

Luartz expressed concern for the state of the global community by stating, “These are really trying times right now. They’re trying times because there are people who are willing to hurt others in our community and by our community I do not mean the Riverside community. I mean the Inland Empire. I mean California. I mean the United States and I mean our world.”

Wilcox concluded the ceremony by speaking on behalf of the UCR community. “This is a time of sadness, of sorrow. A time of grief. A time of tears,” Wilcox began. “Victor Hugo suggested that those who do not weep do not see. That’s a reminder that the simple visual acuity we posses doesn’t allow us to see. What allows us to see is that visible emotion that makes us human.”

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