March 19, 2019

Interfaith Vigil for NZ Victims

Tragedy in New Zealand/Interfaith Vigil on Wednesday, March 20

Dear SMC Community,

This past Friday, March 15, yet another horrible crime took place resulting in the mass shooting of 50 worshippers gathered for Jumu’ah, the weekly Muslim congregational prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, with the people of New Zealand, and with Muslim communities in Southern California, the nation, and the world.

It is vital that we come together as a community to commemorate this tragedy, to remember the lives lost, and to affirm that we stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters, here and everywhere else. In that spirit, we invite you to attend an interfaith candlelight vigil organized by The Associated Students of Santa Monica College—it will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20, at 3 p.m. on the stage behind the SMC Bookstore (flanking the quad).

Over the last several years, there has been a dramatic rise in Islamophobic hate crimes across the United States and around the world. We want our Muslim faculty, staff, and students and everyone on campus to know that we will continue to work closely with law enforcement through the Santa Monica College Police Department and other local, regional, and national agencies, to ensure that every member of the SMC community is safe.

At Santa Monica College, we stand firm against terrorism and the ideology that motivates these heartbreaking attacks. Here are some things that you can do as a member of the SMC community:

  • Talk about the incident and show support for our Muslim faculty, staff, and students. Your power as an individual to provide comfort and empathy is not to be underestimated.

  • If you know of anyone who needs help or emotional support, please refer them to The Center for Wellness and Wellbeing (Liberal Arts Building Room 110) at 310-434-4503 (after hours & 24/7 emotional support line: (800) 691-6003)

  • Encourage the reporting of hate incidents. Sign-up for the LiveSafe App right here. The app has a hate/bias button where individuals can report hate activities and hate crimes anonymously.

  • Take part in the Not On Our Campus campaign. When you see an SMC community member, or any fellow human being, targeted by hate and intolerance, speak up.

May we work together to start the healing and continue to denounce these acts of hatred. Here at Santa Monica College, we reiterate, there is no room for hate.

Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, Superintendent/President
Elaine Polachek, Executive Vice President
Dr. Jennifer Merlic, Vice President of Academic Affairs
Teresita Rodriguez, Vice President of Enrollment Development
Michael Tuitasi, Vice President of Student Affairs
Sherri Lee-Lewis, Interim Vice President of Human Resources