In commemoration of the life of famous basketball player Kobe Bryant and the lives of eight other victims of a helicopter crash, the USF chapter of the NAACP is holding a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. this Thursday at the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Plaza.
The retired Laker and four-time MVP was killed when the helicopter him, his daughter Gianna Bryant and another family were traveling in crashed into the hills above Calabasas, California last Sunday.
The vigil will begin with an opening prayer from President of the USF-NAACP Martaz’Shia Gibbs and Director of Finance Staverline Julien, leading into remarks on the nine people who lost their lives.
“I think for us as a community, we need to unify and realize that life is short,” Gibbs said. “With this vigil, we’re celebrating an amazing life… and bringing our African American community together.”
Aliciya Smith, Denzel Lee and Lola Adeagbo from the organization will be leading songs such as “Hard To Say Goodbye” by Boyz II Men.
Candlelit ceremonies around the MLK plaza, prayers and a moment of silence will bring the event to a close.
“We want to bring the African American community together and share with them the resources on campus that can help them,” Gibbs said. “We want to help African American students realize that there is support out there. There are people that love them and care about them. It’s the biggest reason why NAACP is doing this.”
The NAACP also hopes to bring awareness to the revival of the organization at USF, which hasn’t been active since early 2017.
“The NAACP stands for action and for change, and the way I take that is, like, it’s a call to action,” Gibbs said. “When something happens, you go down, have a meeting, work things out and then put it into action.”
The event is expected to last 30 minutes to an hour, and the expected turnout is from 20-100 people.
“There’s a lot of significance [to the event]. About 20 to 25 black organizations have been personally invited,” Gibbs said.