Dozens of shoes were displayed on the rock this week as part of a silent remembrance of victims from all over the country who have died as a result of violence.
The silent march was sponsored and organized by LINK as part of Guns ‘N Violence Awareness Week.
“We hope that this helps everyone become aware of the fact that these things do in fact happen and are a reality,” Paco Castellon, president of LINK, said. “It is important to be safe and avoid partaking in any form of violence.”
According to members of LINK who were present on the Rock, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and visitors passed by the memorial and read many of the individual stories that were attached to each pair of shoes.
“People are shocked when they read the stories that go along with the shoes,” Castellon said. “People are especially affected by the shoes of the little kids.”
“This is a very sad situation,” sophomore Amy Ferro said. “It doesn’t really hit home until you see that these people had lives and that they were actually wearing these shoes when they were killed.”
“To me, this is not a silent march,” said Hillary Washington, who passed by the memorial on her way to an interview. “I can hear the voices of every single one of these victims and it makes me very angry.
“This is more like an inspiration to stop the violence that we are all so familiar with.”
Among some of the incidents included in the display were a 12-year-old boy who was accidentally shot and killed on Christmas Eve, 1997, a school shooting in Pearl High School in Mississippi where seven were wounded and three were murdered, and another school shooting in which four girls and a teacher died and ten were wounded after a false fire alarm was pulled by two boys who opened fire from the woods.
Members of LINK emphasize the fact that Guns ‘N Violence Awareness Week is just one of the many activities with which the organization is involved and that they are open to new ideas from students and current members.
“Some students have the impression that LINK works with just a very limited amount of issues, but we do a lot more than people may think,” Castellon said. “Anyone is welcome to come to our meetings and give ideas.”
“Many of our week-long programs, including Guns N’ Violence Week, were started from a new idea that was brought into the organization.”
According to officers of LINK, the organization currently has 600 members on its email list.
“I find that LINK is the opportunity for students to find their ability to give back to the community,” said Jessi Rowen, special events chair of LINK.
A hate crimes education campaign sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Community [GLBC] will be held today on the Rock.
Jorge Arauz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.