Florida shooting victims remembered in Troy

February 23, 2018 05:40 AM

The 17 victims killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine's Day were honored at Russell Sage College in Troy Thursday night.

A candlelight vigil was held at Bush Memorial Center.

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“I want everybody to reflect on where do we go from here,” said the Director of the Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center for Mental Health and School Safety Dr. Jerome Steele. “I'm hoping that the students here at Sage will look at this as an opportunity to share their voice in this whole process."

Thursday night’s vigil was organized by the Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center, named for the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, killed in the shooting at her school in 2012. Hochsprung was a doctoral candidate at Sage.

“She was only here for a semester but she left a deep impression on her classmates and her professors,” said Steele.

Steele said the shooting in Parkland, Florida may finally bring change because of the students there who are now speaking out.

“Those students at Parkland have given voice to hose 20 children in Sandy Hook,” explained Steele. “Not that their parents did not, but because they experienced it firsthand.”

One student at Thursday night’s vigil had a difficult time speaking about the tragedy in Florida. She said she’s tired of senseless gun violence.

“I cried a little bit on stage because it's just awful,” said Russell Sage Senior Emily Taylor. “I have a sister who is a senior in high school and I get a little anxious every time I hear about a school shooting."

Taylor said while she doesn't live in fear, she’s always aware.

“I’m always alert of my surroundings,” said Taylor. “It’s surprising if people don't feel that way."

Students at Thursday’s vigil in Troy read the names and a description of each of the victims. They also lit a candle after. While they didn't know the victims personally, they said that doesn't matter.

"I think it gives hope that there's empathy in this world,” explained Taylor. “That people can express emotions for something that has not personally happened to them."

Gun Control and Mental Health were topics on everybody’s mind Thursday night. Students said it’s not just their responsibility to make change.

“I think it’s our responsibility but it’s also the older generation that needs to listen,” added Taylor. “Why are we so uncomfortable talking about laws and change?”


WNYT Staff

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