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.


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide-array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni – over 60,000 strong - provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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