Campus Vigil for Quake Victims in Turkey on March 6

CSUN students, faculty and staff along with the larger community are invited to come together in vigil on Monday, March 6 for those affected by the devastating earthquakes in southern Turkey and Syria. The vigil will take place on the University Library lawn from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Faculty members and students have worked together to create a supportive space following the tragedy.

Graphic of Turkey in black with red circle denoting quake

Photo credit: Klenger, iStock.

Havva Donmez Terzi and Sana Khouri Accad are graduate students in the educational psychology and counseling program in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education. Terzi is a Turkish native. Accad is from Jordan. Both jumped at the chance to spearhead the vigil. Terzi said her family, in the eastern part of Turkey, was not physically affected by the quakes. However, she grieves deeply for her beloved homeland.

“I {feel like] I am doing something to take the pain out of my chest and do something meaningful for the people who lost their lives,” Terzi said.

Accad said she called her family in Jordan upon learning of the catastrophe. She said her parents felt the powerful temblor hundreds of miles away.

“This earthquake has profound ripple effects on students at CSUN, as well as on our families and our countries of origin… so to just make space and to love on and to mourn with people who are hurting and people who have lost at such a profound level…. it’s really very, very important.” Accad said.

On February 6, Southern Turkey and neighboring Syria were rocked by a 7.8 magnitude quake. Thousands of aftershocks have followed, including a 5.2 earthquake on Feb. 27.  More than 50,000 people have died and 160,000 buildings were destroyed. Entire cities lie in ruins. Reports say rescuers have used whatever tools at their disposal — and their bare hands — to dig for survivors in the rubble.

Khanum Shaikh, the director of CSUN’s Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, in the College of Humanities, is also among the organizers of the event.

“What we’re trying to do through this event is to provide a space of recognition for this sort of human catastrophe,” said Shaikh.

The department issued a statement about the quakes, that include a list of mental health resources and contact information for CSUN’s Muslim Chaplin. There are also suggestions for those who wish to donate to aid efforts.

Owen Doonan, an art professor in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication, has spent time living and teaching in Turkey. He is the director of the Sinop Kale excavationsan archeological project of an early Greek settlement on the Black Sea. He is currently on sabbatical but is offering an 8-week lecture series on the archeology of Turkey to raise funds for relief. 

Doonan, noted the re-building will be years, if not decades, in the making.

[With] all of the cultural change and dynamism going on in the country these days… one of the things that is really incredible about the Turkish people is how generous and resilient they are… This goes for Syrians as well. ” Doonan said.

Shaikh said she hopes the event will help build a community on campus among those of Southwest Asian and North African origin.

“[To have] when moments like this happen, a community that we can plug into,” Shaikh said.

The candlelight vigil is also co-sponsored by CSUN’s University Counseling Services.


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