By Angelique D’Alessandro
The Middle Eastern South Asian Alliance (MESA) and Muslim Student Association held a vigil service for the victims of the two Christchurch mosque shootings on Wednesday, March 20 in the library. Students listened to speakers recount the importance of coming together in the face of violence.
Nuvaera Mumnoon, a sophomore biomedical science major and president of MESA, helped organize the vigil. “I held this vigil for the large community at LIU Post, and it was open to the public,” she said. “My motive for this was to bring peace, to influence everyone around us. These attacks don’t make us weak, but they actually make us strong.”
Mumnoon wanted the event to include people of all backgrounds. “No matter what your background is or where you come from, you are strong and everybody is here for you,” she said. “There’s something that everybody has in common: we’re all human, we have feelings. What we’re all going through we’re going through together.”
Afaf Nasher, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, was a guest speaker at the event, and opened the vigil with a short prayer. She followed by calling for a need for all “people of conscience” to speak up in the face of prejudice and hate.
“I’ve been at too many rallies and too many press conferences, and each time I try to hold back moments where I feel like I’m choking up because the insanity of it all is so traumatizing,” Nasher said. “But then what drives me to move forward is the understanding that we who are alive have a responsibility to fight against complacency and sometimes against complicity.”
Louis Copertino, a junior public relations major, said it was important for him to attend the vigil as a representative of the Promise office. “This is a time when the university needs to come together. As student leaders and representative for LIU Promise, we feel like we should be here to support students,” he said.
Nasher encouraged students to be leaders and use their “consumer power” to take a stand against violence and injustice.
“There are ways in which we hold people accountable that are in your hands,” Nasher said. “Use those tools to promote positive, productive change in the world.”