Students + Campus

Charleston church shooting brings campus community together to grieve

More than 50 staff, students and alumni at the James West Alumni Center shared sadness, fears and hopes

UCLA Charleston service
Christelle Snow/UCLA

UCLA community members attend campus service for victims of the Charleston church shootings.

More than 50 members of the campus community came together today to collectively share deeply felt anger, compassion, fear and frustration as well as hope for healing and restoration in response to last week’s tragic shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Representatives of the UCLA community lit nine candles for the nine people who died. A UCLA staff member urged community members “not to let our outrage overshadow the work that must be done ... While anger is ever-present, it is our love that will overcome.” The event at the James West Alumni Center was attended by staff, alumni and students.

Some African-Americans talked about how closely this tragedy hit home for them. “As a young man who came from the South, this hit me very hard,” said Kevin Dougherty, assistant dean of students, whose heartfelt comments brought some in the room to tears. “My church was burned when I was growing up, and this brought back memories of that.” The black community must remain strong and undeterred in the fight against racism, he said.

The event was hosted by UCLA Student Affairs, the University Religious Conference and Alumni Affairs. On Friday at noon, the Bruin Resource Center will hold a gathering for staff to dialogue further about the Charleston tragedy in Student Activities Center Conference Room 1.

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