A moving memorial service for the victims of the massacre in Orlando was held on Tuesday, June 21, at the Reflection Garden on Kean University’s campus. Members of the Kean community came together in prayerful observance to remember those in the LGBTQ community who were killed and injured in the worst mass shooting in modern American history. Those who gathered offered a moment of silence in solidarity with Orlando, and a bell solemnly tolled after each name of the 49 people killed at the Pulse nightclub was read.
“We come together to offer support and to stand with the Orlando community as we mourn their loss and share in their pain and grief,” said Maximina Rivera, Kean assistant vice president of residential student services. “Today we look for peace and unity as these moments remind us to be kind to one another and to watch over each other.”
A Kean student who prefers to remain anonymous so her words can stand as “one heart speaking for all hearts” reflected on the name of the nightclub as she offered words of remembrance.
“Forty-nine Pulses stopped that night of the shooting,” she said. “Their hearts used to beat the same as yours and mine do right now. Whether gay, straight, pan or any sexuality, there is always a heart beating within.
“Listen to your heart and listen for the hearts of others. Hear their pulse. Hear their feelings, and see who the person is within before judging them from afar.
“May all of the people who were killed that night be at peace; may all of them also have their pulses ring in our hearts as we carry their memory and their legacy.”
Kean University is committed to ensuring a safe, diverse and inclusive space for living and learning. The Kean Counseling Center is available to all in the community who seek support in the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy.