Sixth Annual Candlelight Vigil Remembers Homicide Victims of 2011

Monday, April 23, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (April 23, 2012) – In the last several months, national attention has been called to the impact of senseless violence on communities through the ongoing Trayvon Martin case unfolding in Sanford, Fla. In Philadelphia, 324 victims lost their lives to homicide in 2011 – an increase from 2010’s 306. On Thursday, April 26, Saint Joseph’s University students and members of the community will remember these victims at their sixth annual Candlelight Vigil, held in the Chapel of St. Joseph-Michael J. Smith, S.J., Memorial at 7 p.m. At an interdenominational prayer service presided over by Elizabeth A. Linehan, RSM, associate professor of philosophy, the names of all 324 victims will be read aloud, and a candle lit for each one. Hosted by the Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence (formerly the Institute for Violence Research and Prevention), the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Office of Mission, the annual ceremony is held to raise awareness of the violence that occurs in Philadelphia every day.

“The story behind each killing is tragic and horrific for its own reason,” says Maria Kefalas, Ph.D., director of the Richard Johnson Center. “Some people were murdered by people who said they loved them. One of the dead includes a young mother of four walking down the street to visit her own mother. At our vigil we honor and think of them all.” Everett Gillison, Mayor Michael Nutter’s Chief of Staff for the City of Philadelphia, will give the keynote address and State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams will be in attendance.  The event is free and open to the public.


As Philadelphia's Jesuit, Catholic University, founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University provides a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. SJU ranks as a top university in the Northeast, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the College of Arts and Sciences and AACSB accreditation of the  Erivan K. Haub School of Business. The University is also deeply committed to the Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, earning a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and the community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. With courses offered on campus and online, SJU prepares its more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students to lead lives of personal excellence, professional success and engaged citizenship.


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