Candlelight vigil remembers those lost to suicide

By Karla Henry

Stories of youth who had committed suicide in the recent years due to some sort of bullying were shared during the LGBTQ Candlelight Vigil and Forum at the Thousand Oaks room on Oct. 25. Photo credit: Karla Henry / Contributor

A candlelight vigil was held Thursday in an effort to educate students about bullying and suicide in the LGBTA community.

The event stemmed from the suicides that happened two years ago sparking an outrage in the community and was organized by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance student club and the Sociology Community Organizing class.

The purpose of the event was to bring awareness to the horrific issue of suicide while also showing students that there are people who can help them in their times of need.

Pictures of youths that committed suicide in the recent years due to bullying were placed on chairs and participants got a chance to learn about their stories.

“The purpose of those pictures was to put a face to the topic of suicide and bullying, to make it more personal,” said Art Ambartsumyan, LGBTA president.

Students had the chance to participate in different activities during the event. The “Coming out Stars” activity helped participants experience what might be potential outcomes of coming out.

“It shows why we all need to be a support system for each other,” Ambartsumyan said.

Representatives from the University Counseling Services and Klotz Student Health Center gave out information about the different services they offer. Students had the chance to ask questions and gather information about the different programs available to them.

“If we don’t have something that meets your needs, ask us, talk to us, let us know,” said Sharon Aronoff, health educator at the Klotz Center.