Hundreds of people – tears in eyes and with emotions running high – packed Gorton Quad at San Diego City College Oct. 14, to honor the life of student Diana Gonzalez, 19, who was slain on campus earlier in the week.
Along with family members of Gonzalez, the City College community and friends lit their candles and said a prayer asking for peace.
“The flame symbolizes the crusade started in her honor,” San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll said. “We mourn, but we honor her.”
Dean of Student Affairs Denise Whisenhunt and several campus organizations came together to plan the memorial for Gonzalez.
“(The vigil) is really coming from a place of love,” Whisenhunt told City Times earlier today. “Students are grieving, as are staff, faculty and the entire campus community.”
Gonzalez was first reported missing by her parents Oct. 12, after not returning home from her night class. She was found dead in a campus restroom at 10 p.m. that same night.
Although a motive has not been determined, City College President Terrence Burgess said it appears to be a domestic violence situation that spilled onto the campus.
It is believed that six weeks prior to her death, Gonzalez had filed a restraining order on her partner and father of her 8-month-old child, Armando Perez, 37, but local media has reported it was not served.
Janet Gonzalez, the victim’s sister, was present at the vigil and attempted to speak to the crowd. Her emotions took over her as she shared the words, “thank you for everything you’ve done today,” with the crowd.
A cousin of the slain student, Beatriz Luna, did address attendees.
“On behalf of our family during this difficult time, we find it inspiring to see all people gathered here today,” Luna said.
Luna also had a message on behalf of the Gonzalez family to all women in violent relationships.
“Get out now. This is our family today, don’t let this be your family tomorrow.”
var uslide_show_id = “e5792ec7-4087-4d37-9dde-c9f3bf536232”;var slideshowwidth = “350”;var linktext = “”;