SPRINGFIELD - A candlelight vigil united dozens in Springfield. Several residents, students, and staff gathered on the UIS campus Saturday afternoon, kicking off black history month by honoring the new legacies of young men killed by police in 2014. The goal of the event was to bring about healing and set plans for the future. Student Affairs Coordinators, like Justin Rose, wanted to provide a safe space for students to express how gun violence and police brutality have affected them.
"Often times we celebrate the lives of others in our own space, and now we want to come together and say that these lives still matter," said Rose. "Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin. The list goes on and on."
Students say the Michael Brown shooting was a wake-up call because Ferguson isn't very far from Springfield.
"Missouri is so close to us, so it kind of affected us in a different light than it did everyone else because it's so close to home," said graduate student Ashley Harris. "We wanted to show that we could come together as a community, as a people, and heal together."
The Black Student Union will be holding similar events all month long.