UNCC Shooting: The Day After & Vigil, 5/1, Chris Crews, DSC_6410

The evening of May 1 was one of remembrance–with thousands of students, from every field of study, standing side-by-side, holding up candles as a united light in the face of darkness. On that evening, my classmates and I were a family – honoring the members who were either taken from us or brutally wounded. What happened to Riley, Ellis, Sean, Drew, Emily, and Rami must never be forgotten. Their names will forever be ingrained in the collective memory of the school and shall live on with those who were on campus the day of April 30th. I know that this is certainly the case for me.

As I graduate into the next chapter of my life, leaving behind the place I called home for what were perhaps the best years of my life; I find myself concerned with the future state of the Niner Nation. With the coming semesters, many difficult conversations will be held on campus. These discussions are unavoidable, if not necessary. We must tread forth with caution. To suggest that this is an emotional subject for all of us is a gross understatement. Emotions are what make us human. They are the vessels which allow us to connect others and to feel the impact of the events which surround us. This is why it is so easy to allow our passions to rule over us in such times. Yet no matter how comfortable or alluring it may be, we cannot allow them to rule us in our time of healing.

While time has allowed for some recuperation, there is still much fear and sorrow in the atmosphere on campus. If left unchecked, it can turn to anger; and with that anger can follow division.

Now more than ever we must concern ourselves first and foremost with how we, as individuals, respond and act. We all have an equal responsibility to both ourselves and those around us for what we speak into existence or create into being. What we say, what we do, what we tweet, what we post, how we respond – all have an impact within the immediate environment: our University. Within our discourse and dispositions, we must allow both Compassion and Reason to be the forces which propel us forward. We must remember that those with whom we disagree or clash with over such sensitive subjects are not from “the other side” – they are our fellow 49ers, and have been equally impacted by what has happened, just as you and I have.

I am not writing as a partisan; nor am I writing as a former student leader.

I write as an individual – a proud graduate of Niner Nation.

A proud 49er.

Let us all be conscious to think of ourselves in the same manner as we continue on.

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