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Isla Vista Candlelight Vigil
updated: May 25, 2014, 9:34 AM

By Robert Bernstein

Isla Vista, UCSB, SBCC and the larger community came together for a candlelight vigil Saturday evening as a result of the tragedy that occurred Friday evening.

An estimated 4,000 people gathered in Storke Plaza at UCSB and did a silent candlelight walk to Anisq'Oyo' Park amphitheater in Isla Vista.

There, Chancellor Yang gave the first of a series of thoughtful comments on the occasion. People were invited to come up and speak if so moved. Many were just ordinary community members. Some knew the victims or survivors and reflected on them.

Here are my photos.

Many people expressed how grateful they are that Isla Vista is a warm, caring and welcoming community. That the thousands gathered for the vigil represent what is truly the spirit of Isla Vista. And not the rare senseless violence that has shocked us and caused so much grief.

People were urged to reach out to each other. Not only during a time of mourning like this. But reach out if someone seems to be lonely and isolated. Give them a hug. Ask them what's wrong.

My own thought is as follows: I have lived in or close by Isla Vista for 32 years, since I was a UCSB graduate student. I have always found Isla Vista to have a wonderful openness and innocence. I have seen several senseless tragedies over the years. Notably the previous similar tragedy in 2001 caused by David Attias. And yet, Isla Vista has kept that spirit of friendliness, trust and openness.

Today we mourn. But may that Isla Vista spirit of community, friendliness, trust and openness always remain.

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