Students unite at the end-of-year vigil for innocent black lives lost
Montreal students gathered at the McGill University lower field on Nov. 18 to honour the innocent black lives taken by police brutality this year.
Some three dozen students from Concordia and McGill held signs and candles to show their support at the end-of-year candlelight vigil, organized by McGill’s Black Students Network.
“We decide to [hold] an end-of-year vigil to show our support for all black lives lost unjustly,” said McGill student Charles Keita, one of the organizers of the event and member of the Black Students Network at McGill.
“We are students and we are advocating that black lives matter, and we are in positions where we do have a voice,” Keita said. “We’re trying to find the best mediums where we can use our words properly and reach out to other people.”
The Black Students Network hosts a variety of panels and discussions where students can speak about black culture, as well as raise awareness about the black lives that have been lost to police violence. The association aims to raise awareness for minority groups and promote that all lives matter equally.
The Black Students Network at McGill is open to all members of the Montreal community, said Keita. “We encourage students from all universities to get involved and people of different backgrounds,” he said. “We’re trying to enrich the community with knowledge on the issues.” In response to the recent U.S. presidential election and the publicized deaths on social media of African Americans who have lost their lives to police brutality, the Black Students Network invited Montrealers to come together to mourn and heal from the losses.
“We wanted to give a voice to those who have been oppressed,” said Elisa Nganiet, an economics and international relations student at McGill. She said she had felt personally affected by Trump’s win and minority groups being put down during his presidential campaign.
Nganiet said there have been a number of vigils held this year to commemorate police deaths. “We felt that we should do the same for the black lives lost,” she added.
She said she was grateful for students who attended and was pleased with the great turnout of the outdoor event.
“Progress isn’t just a one way thing—it’s a road and it’s great to know students are coming out and that they will for future events as well,” he said.
Students can like the Black Students Network Facebook page to be kept up to date on what the group is doing and how students can get involved.