With rain pouring down, dozens of University of Miami students huddled Wednesday night to light candles and have a moment of silence for the hundreds affected by recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and other countries.
“We want to show the world we stand in solidarity,” said Maureen Tan, president of the school’s Council of International Students and Organizations, which organized the vigil.
An hour later, students at Florida International University came together on the main campus in Southwest Miami-Dade, showing support for those affected by the attacks.
Present at both vigils: Philippe Létrilliart, the consul general of France in Miami.
Létrilliart told UM students: “It is especially important to have this event with young people because what happened in Paris on Friday was the killing of young people.”
“They were just being with their friends and acting freely in a free country,” he said. “That is the reason they died.”
On Friday, 129 people were killed and hundreds were injured — some gravely — during a string of shootings and suicide bombings in Paris. The day after the attacks, the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
For French UM student Julia Cauchy, 22, being with fellow students was comforting.
“My whole family is in Paris,” said Cauchy, holding a candle. “It was really scary not being able to reach them.”
At FIU, 40 students gathered for a presentation put together by the school’s two French clubs. The students held candles and stood in silence for 129 seconds to remember each victim killed in Paris.
Morgane Fournie, 24, a recent master’s graduate who is originally from Paris, spoke about her friend, who was one of the victims.
“Terrorism isn’t just an attack on France; it’s attacks everywhere,” she said, showing victims’ photos. “I just want everyone to remember these 129 people.”
McClatchy foreign correspondent Matthew Schofield contributed to this report.