STAND Members Attend Vigil Commemorating Migrant Lives Lost at Sea



Every Friday, John Cabot University’s STAND club members spend their morning volunteering at the Joel Nafuma  Refugee Center. Over the past few years STAND and its members have managed to transform the center through efforts. It has become not only a place of community service, but of friendship and learning.

Last Friday was an especially important day, as it came right after yet another crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. On Sunday, April 19, a Tunisian boat capsized and approximately 900 more migrant lives were lost.

The Joel Nafuma Center is often at the center of this cruel reality. In collaboration with Centro Astalli and the US Embassy to the Holy See, the Center organized a special day and evening in commemoration of all migrant lives lost in the Mediterranean. In the morning, STAND was there to volunteer and extended its support into the afternoon to help with the creation of a “peace flag.” In the evening a special Interfaith Vigil was held.

People from all different backgrounds attended the vigil, joining together to realize their shared humanity. Throughout the service members of the community chanted a quote by Desmond Tutu: “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” Many of the guests took the stage and told their stories, introducing them with the formula “I am a migrant, and my life matters.” They lit candles after every story was told. Isska Maiga from Mali and Rakeen Akila from Afghanistan then recited an Islamic prayer. The vigil was concluded by singing together for peace.

Members then hung the peace flag at the entrance of the St. Paul Within the Walls church in Via Nazionale.

Join STAND and volunteer at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center.

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