The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Newsletter Signup

Get our news delivered straight to your inbox every week.

* indicates required

Candlelight vigil held for Michelle Wilkins

In response to the reckless assault on Appalachian alumna Michelle Wilkins, Boone community members organized an event to raise awareness and support.
In response to the reckless assault on Appalachian alumna Michelle Wilkins, Boone community members organized an event to raise awareness and support.

Members of the Boone community gathered around the Doc Watson statue downtown on Sunday night to hold a candlelight vigil for Michelle Wilkins. Attendees gathered together to sing uplifting songs and share their words in support of Wilkins.

Wilkins, an ASU alumna, was recklessly assaulted in Longmont, Colorado on March 18. She was seven months pregnant at the time.

According to a Watauga Democrat article, Wilkins was answering a CraigsList ad about maternity and baby clothes in Longmont when she was beaten and stabbed. The attacker removed the fetus from Wilkins’ womb and the baby died shortly after.

In response to this tragedy, friends of Wilkins organized an event to raise awareness and support.

“We are here to honor an amazing woman, recognize this tragedy and to be with her,” said Serene Solinsky, teacher and friend of Wilkins. “We want to let her know she has a safe place here in Boone.”

In response to the reckless assault on Appalachian alumna Michelle Wilkins, Boone community members organized an event to raise awareness and support.
In response to the reckless assault on Appalachian alumna Michelle Wilkins, Boone community members organized an event to raise awareness and support.

Solinsky expressed how everyone who came in contact with Wilkins experienced her love in different ways. This vigil, Solinsky explained, was a way for the friends Wilkins has made to express their love and support for her.

“We want to bring awareness to her need and create a space for her to continue her journey,” she said.

Wilkins’ friends in attendance showed their full confidence in Wilkins’ ability to recover from this tragedy.

“I know she’ll see the reason for this tragedy and I believe she will be able to find the positivity in it,” said Jeremiah Brown, a friend of Wilkins. “This is tragic, but we think she can take this and give people hope and help them be understanding and forgiving.”

While sadness and grief may be expected in these situations, the group in attendance showed a powerfully optimistic confidence in Wilkins’ ability to get through her loss.

“We grieve the loss of her child, but celebrate her gaining strength to get past this,” said Laura Thompson, another friend of Wilkins.

One of Wilkins’ friends, Amanda Vance, urged the community to “keep hope and light” in the face of this disheartening tragedy. While many in attendance knew Wilkins personally, some came knowing nothing about Wilkins other than her current situation.

“I just realized this was something worth being at,” said Charles Graham, Boone community member. “I read the article and burst into tears.”

Graham connected with Wilkins, not only as a fellow member of the community, but also as another expectant parent. While he does not know Wilkins personally, he wishes to support her in any way he can and hopes the community does the same.

“It’s a hard thing to talk about, but something must be said,” Graham said.

He expressed how this difficulty could lead to inaction. But, at this vigil, he saw the community refusing to let the gravity of this issue intimidate it.

“This is a community coming together and saying ‘let’s do something, instead of nothing,’” he said.

A donation page has been created for Wilkins on Gofundme.com.

STORY: Josh Wharton, Intern News Reporter

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1727/cg20/form.aspx?sid=1727&gid=2&pgid=392&cid=1011&dids=418.15&bledit=1&sort=1.

Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Appalachian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    Anonymous PostMar 24, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Donate now! They have almost reached their goal for Michelle…
    http://www.gofundme.com/michelle-wilkins

    Reply