Celebration and Remembrance

Today I sent the following message to the campus community:

The end of spring semester, traditionally a time of celebration at Wesleyan, also brings to mind the sad events of a year ago. May 6 marks the first anniversary of the tragic death of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10. This year, May 6 also happens to mark the end of the semester, traditionally a day when students gather for “Spring Fling” to celebrate their achievements. I know many on campus are uneasy about participating in festivities this year, and I wanted to acknowledge that uneasiness even as we prepare to both mark the end of the school year and mourn our great loss of a year ago. A list of events honoring Johanna’s memory will be sent around soon.

We continue to work and live as a community, and this year we anticipate our annual May celebration being mindful of this tragedy. We all choose to commemorate, celebrate or grieve in different ways. Some of us prefer privacy, others seek out friends or groups. Some of us will pray or reflect, others will dance and sing. We are providing our community – students, faculty, staff and others – with a variety of options to gather together for remembrance, reflection as well as celebration. We have the freedom to pay our respects and remember in whatever way we choose.

Spring Fling has long marked the end of classes, and it still does. The fact that we have chosen not to abandon that tradition is not a sign of disrespect, but it is a sign that we will not change the culture of our campus because of a senseless act of violence. Spring is here. Let us celebrate, and let us remember.

[tags]Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10, semester’s end, Spring Fling, mourning, remembrance[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Celebration and Remembrance”

  1. I agree, celebrating is “not a sign of disrespect.” I think the best thing we can do to honor Ms. Justin-Jinich’s memory is to work towards the prevention of these tragic killings in our campuses by limiting the possession of handguns. As long as these lethal weapons are as common as cell phones in some cities or neighborhoods, senseless violence will continue to claim young innocent lives.

    Dan F.

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