UConn Veteran Student Organization leads solidarity march

UConn student Samuel Surowitz (middle) leads the UConn Veteran Student Organization march “No Fear: A March in Solidarity With Victims & Against Terrorism," down Fairfield Way in Storrs, Connecticut on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

In memory of the victims of the horrific Nov. 13 Paris attacks, the University of Connecticut’s Veteran Student Organization (VSO) organized a walk on Thursday titled “No Fear: A March in Solidarity With Victims & Against Terrorism.”

The walk focused on bringing attention not only to the recent attacks in Paris, but to the numerous attacks that have occurred throughout the world this year in Lebanon, Iraq, Kenya, Tunisia and Chad. Through focusing on the importance of solidarity and cooperation, the event served as a demonstration that terrorists will not succeed in forcing others to live in fear.  

“We must stand together and say we are not afraid, we have no fear and you will not control us” seventh-semester history major Sam Surowitz said “We will go to concerts, churches, mosques and synagogues and your terrible actions will have no effect on us other than to pity you.”

Participants of the march universally agreed that expressing solidarity with victims demonstrated a commitment to prevent the horrible impact of terrorism from being trivialized or overlooked. 

“We see it happening all the time and we get desensitized to it happening in places nearby and we are aware of it, but it doesn’t directly impact us, which is why we need events like this,” fifth-semester mechanical engineering major Garrett Taylor said.      

Although the march was organized and coordinated primarily by VSO, other student groups expressed support with the message and planning behind the event. In particular, during the course of the march, a French flag borrowed from the French Student Association was carried.

“We got positive responses from Greek life although I’m not sure how many of them will be able to make it,” Surowitz said. “The Muslim Student Association also invited me to an event, so overall I think we had a good response.”

The event also received support from the university’s administration. In an email directed to the entire UConn campus community, President Susan Herbst advised faculty and students to attend the solidarity march. 

“As always, I am incredibly proud of our students for their activism, engagement and most of all, for their compassion,” Herbst said via email. 

The march began at Fairfield way and concluded at the Ultimate Sacrifice Memorial at Founder’s Field. Overall, the event had a turnout of about seventeen people.

“I think it’s important that victims of terrorism know that Americans stand with them and that we have their back, so their not facing terrorism alone.” VSO president and seventh-semester history major Sam Surowitz said.


Fatir Qureshi is a staff writer at The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at fatir.qureshi@uconn.edu.