University of Michigan students, faculty and staff gathered in solidarity Wednesday to honor the three people who died and more were injured Monday night.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Just an hour southeast of East Lansing, student leaders at the University of Michigan have invited the entire campus to a vigil to remember the three lives lost and more injured after mass shooting at michigan state university Monday evening.
Hundreds of University students, faculty and staff gathered together in solidarity at The Diag, a large grassy area on the Ann Arbor college campus.
Attendees stood in silence for four minutes to mark the four hours the MSU campus was frozen in fear as a 43-year-old gunman wreaked havoc by shooting and killing students Brian Fraser, Alexandria Werner and Ariel Anderson before shooting himself during a standoff with police miles from campus.
Attendees of the vigil held each other, holding back sobs and tears as they listened to students like Micah Rectorbrooks speak about the importance of showing support for the MSU community and East Lansing as a whole.
Rectorbrooks, a UM sophomore, said she is an activist to prevent gun violence and told the crowd that their feelings of pain, anger and more were valid.
“We have to come together, we have to mourn this loss,” she said.
Alyssa Donovan also spoke at the vigil, saying it was the second time she had been part of a community that had experienced a mass shooting, the first being the Oxford High School shooting that left four dead just an hour away from Ann Arbor and East Lansing. Even though she didn’t go to Oxford High School or MSU, she still shares the grief.
Donovan isn’t the only MSU student dealing with the trauma of a second mass shooting.
“For our community as a whole, it would be forever changed by this senseless act of violence,” Donovan said.
Andrea Marquez, a graduate student at University College, said it was important for her school to host the vigil. It’s important to honor the lives of the people who lost their lives in yet another mass shooting in the United States, but it’s also important to address how some people have become numb to seemingly ordinary headlines about mass shootings.
“Students, faculty, staff, they all have a relationship, an affiliation with Michigan State,” Marquez said. “The most important thing is to keep the space for that, and not just go back to normal life like we’re so used to and used to doing.”
Natasha Zake, also a graduate student at UM, has a constant fear in the back of her mind, not only because of the prevalence of mass shootings in the U.S., but also because of how many have occurred in 2023 alone.
Specifically, 11 people were killed and nine were injured in a shooting at a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California on January 21. Two days later, seven people were killed and one injured in Half Moon Bay, California. in shootouts on two farms.
“It’s the perfect opportunity for someone who is, for lack of a better word, inspired by previous events to use this area as an optimal place to create the same,” Zacke said.
After the vigil ended, some in attendance stayed by with flowers, candles and tears to look forward to a hopeful future where the fear of being shot and killed is not something Americans have to face.
“We must find within ourselves the power of love and grace to inspire and demand change,” Donovan said.