Harambe Vigil at UMass Amherst

Yesterday, September 30, we at UMass held a vigil for the nation’s favorite lowland gorilla, Harambe.

Dressed in our Sunday best, we set up a small shrine with flowers, bananas, tealights and pictures of our departed hero. The purpose of this was to remind the campus denizens that they need not fear any repercussions for discussing the matter of Harambe’s death, nor for sharing a harmless joke about it. We thought this to be prudent after certain RA’s in one of our dorms tried (unsuccessfully) to ban all mention of Harambe. 

The response was overwhelmingly positive, with many passersby smiling, laughing aloud and stopping for pictures. We also had some great conversations with certain people who stopped by on the subject of free speech and censorship. 

Only two people expressed an openly negative response, and neither of them were members of the University administration. I had a lengthy discourse with one of them, a gentleman who found it offensive that we used jokes in conjunction with Harambe’s memory, and in the end I was able to help him see the positive side of it.

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