From darkness to light: Candlelight Vigil emphasizes resilience

Stephanie Sansoucy

The Appalachian State University LGBT Center held its fourth annual Candlelight Vigil on Monday to honor those who have committed suicide as the result of bullying.

Approximately 90 people gathered on Sanford Mall for the event.

Dean of students J.J. Brown, SGA President Dylan Russell and Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson spoke on bullying and fair treatment, as well as the night’s theme of resilience.

The Quaker Student Association and Hillel participated in the vigil by offering reflections specific to their religions.

A Sanskrit prayer was also recited and a capella group Ear Candy performed.

“I think it’s important for students here to have someone come out and show their support, because I believe support is very, very important to these students,” Clawson said. “We want to continue as a town to be very supportive of all students.”  

Russell said that the message of the night was to have hope.

“We all have the ability to be a light, not just in our own lives but in each other’s lives too, and when we all join together with all these candles out, we can finally see and we’re no longer in the darkness,” Russell said. “The message is to move from darkness into light, and to do what we have to do it together and it has to be a conscious and intentional choice to do that.”

Sarah Magness, the graduate assistant for the LGBT Center, said the vigil was put together completely by students in the LGBT Center.

Brown said that he wants campus to be welcoming and that the vigil helps spread the message that students are not alone.

“This event is so special because everybody has a story, and one of the beautiful things about this event is that it highlights that everybody’s story is beautiful, no matter what it may be, in any way, shape or form,” Brown said.  “[I] hope to let folks who may be struggling from being bullied to being harassed that they’re not alone and that there are resources and people that are here to help them and care about them.”


Story: CARL BLACKENSHIP, Intern News Reporter