Students host vigil for Haiti

On Thursday, Jan. 14 the Caribbean Student Association (CaribSA) held a candlelit vigil at the Campanile to show support for victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12. The event showcased poems, songs and speeches from students, faculty and organizations from both Tech and Kennesaw State.

“Our goal [was to] draw attention to everybody’s capability of helping. That could mean not just financially, but spiritually as well. It’s not just a Haitian-American problem, so we’re trying to seek help from everyone as well,” said Thania Saintil, an administrative manager at the office of the provost and faculty advisor for CaribSA.

The vigil began with a candle lighting ceremony, and was followed by a speech from Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. A wide range of speakers, including first and second generation Haitian-Americans, spoke about their reaction to the tragedy and how it affected them personally. Some, like Saintil, had family members still missing in Haiti and expressed fears and hopes about finding their loved ones soon.

“I pray that my brother is okay…. I pray that my brother went out and had a drink that day. I pray that he wasn’t in his building when the earthquake hit,” Saintil said.

“When I visited Haiti, there was a lot of pride and heart there. Every Sunday, I would hear joyful singing from the churches. When the earthquake hit, I feared that energy was lost but when I turned on the news to see what had happened, I still heard it in the background singing,” said Ryan Turk, fourth-year ME.

The event also included a recital of several songs and poems from students, including a choir group from Kennesaw State. The songs expressed faith in Haiti’s ability to see itself through its predicaments both in the short and long term. After the vigil had ended, several audience members met and shared solidarity with the speakers.

“[The vigil] was moving and there really are no words to adequately describe it,” said Morgan Rice, first-year ARCH. “It was amazing to see an outpouring of hope and support from Tech, especially at the last minute.”