All-night vigil to be held at Baldwin High School to honor victims of violence


Photo submitted by Daniel Shaner

A name reading vigil will be held on March 26th to honor victims of identity based violence.

Alli Schroeder , Multimedia Editor

An all-night vigil to honor victims of identity-based violence, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic school shutdown, will be held this March at the high school.

Middle school English teacher Daniel Shaner said the vigil will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 26, and is projected to end around 8 a.m. on March 27 in Rooms 314 and 315. The length of the vigil will depend on the number of people who volunteer to read.

The plans for last year included presentations from speakers. But because of social distancing concerns, this year’s event will be solely focused on reading the names of people who were victims of identity-based violence, which is defined as violence targeting a person because of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ability.

Our goal is to honor the victims of identity-based violence by sharing their names with the world,” Shaner said. “We will concentrate on victims from North America — the enslaved Africans and their descendents, Indigineous People, the Latinx, the LGBTQIA+ communities, religious minorities, various genders, victims of domestic violence, schoolplace violence and differently abled victims of violence.”

Two volunteers will read the names for 20-minute increments. Some volunteers may read for more than one time increment, depending on the number of volunteers. About 72 readers will be needed for 12 hours of reading.

Senior Anna Abbiatici will be reading names at the vigil. She was set to read last year as well.

“It’s important to speak for these victims,” Abbiatici said. “This is something that is very real. It’s happening, and ignoring it is not the solution.”

About 8,640 names are expected to be read in 24 hours, but Shaner has collected more than that. 

Any student or staff member who wishes to participate is encouraged to contact Shaner so that a schedule can be created. 

“A small group will be selected to participate during the overnight hours, and we will have to use a lock-in procedure so they are supervised and socially distant at all times,” Shaner said.

Shaner said his parents and a pair of social justice fighters have inspired him throughout his life.

“My parents raised me to believe that those of us who have the strength and ability to help others have a responsibility to do so,” Shaner said.

“Two quotes from two brilliant men inform most of my decisions these days. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King wrote that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Holocaust survivor and author Eli’s Wiesel wrote, ‘I swore never to be silent whenever and whatever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.’”

The goal of vigils like this, he said, is to eliminate the need for them in the future.

“We do this so that, one day, there will be no more names to add,” Shaner said.