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Stetson Student Organizes Vigil for Wednesday night to Remember 17 Victims of Parkland Shooting

Stetson first-year student Aviva Edrich was visiting the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house Feb. 14 when a friend texted and said a shooting was happening back home at her high school.

Edrich immediately texted her brother, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. He responded right away, said there was a shooting going on at school, but he was safe.

“It broke my heart to know that my home of four years was currently a shooting ground and people are texting their family their last I love yous,” Edrich recalled.

“I knew many of the victims,” she continued, naming two coaches, a longtime family friend and a close friend from middle school among the 17 victims.

Edrich has organized a vigil for Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 9 p.m. on the stairs of the Carlton Union Building. She wants to remember and celebrate the 17 beautiful lives lost when a heavily armed 19-year-old opened fire in his former school.

A banner with the names of the 17 victims now hangs outside the CUB.

“From this event I’m hoping that the Stetson community comes together as we go through this hard time and to hope for a better future so we don’t repeat history,” said Edrich, a Communications and Media Studies major.

Edrich will speak at tonight’s event, which also is organized with the help of Stetson’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Stetson’s three chaplains will attend tonight, and the names of each victim will be read aloud as candles are lit and a bell is rung for each one.

Afterward, prayers will be recited and participants can light candles from the candles burning for the 17 victims, said Lindsey Graves, assistant director for Interfaith Initiatives at Stetson.

“In closing, we’re going to talk about how to spread our light of peace into the world and hopefully prevent the violence from spreading, and end with the hope that we can each spread the light,” Graves said.

-Cory Lancaster