The commemorative ceremony for the six victims of the Isla Vista massacre took on the air of strength and resiliency evident in prior memorials as white-clad dancers moved rhythmically to the slow beats and tones of percussion and flute in UC Santa Barbara’s Storke Plaza on Monday.
Monday marked the two-year anniversary of the darkest chapter of Isla Vista’s turbulent history, when 22-year-old Elliot Roger murdered two of his roommates and killed four more UCSB students in a behind-the-wheel shooting rampage that left nine others injured.
“Table of Silence,” originally created by New York-based choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi as a 9/11 tribute, featured 75 UCSB dance students who were accompanied by the student a cappella group Naked Voices, flautist and alumnus Azeem Ward, and student percussionist William Pasley.
“Today’s performance gives us a moment to pause and reflect on the lives of those we lost, and to pay tribute to their extraordinary legacy,” UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang told the several hundred attendees at the ceremony’s outset.
“It is also a reminder of the resilience and spirit of a community, that we have responded with a renewed sense of unity and focus — a reminder that tragedy has not torn us apart, but only brought us closer together and made us stronger.”
The university named the inaugural recipients of five memorial scholarships and one fellowship it had created in honor of the victims, George Chen, Katherine Cooper, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, David Wang, James Hong and Veronika Weiss.
Michaels-Martinez, 20, of Los Osos was a San Luis Obispo High School graduate.
The scholarships and fellowship, Yang said, are intended to memorialize the contributions they made to their community.
“Each of these recipients reflects the character, passions, kindness, intelligence and ambition of the six students we lost, ensuring that their legacies live on at UC Santa Barbara,” Yang said.