On May 23, 2014, the UC Santa Barbara and Isla Vista communities were changed forever. Since the tragedy that took the lives of six UCSB students and injured 14 additional students, the UCSB and Isla Vista communities have come together to honor and reflect on the strength that sustains us. While those impacted will always hold the scar of this tragedy, it is important to recognize the lasting remembrances that allow us the opportunity to commemorate how UCSB and Isla Vista came together and became Gaucho Strong.
In the moments following the events of May 23, 2014, spontaneous memorials began to appear in Isla Vista almost immediately. In all, four separate memorial locations were identified within Isla Vista. Students and community members instinctively flocked to each other and the memorial areas to grieve and be in community. Numerous posters and banners appeared in Isla Vista offering condolences and support to those affected by the events, and show appreciation for law enforcement which were first on the scene.
The first organized memorial event was a candlelight vigil on Saturday night, May 24, 2014. Organized by students with the support of staff and faculty, the event began at 7:30 pm in Storke Plaza at the base of UCSB’s iconic Storke Tower. The 4,000 participants carried white candles as they walked from campus, through the Pardall pedestrian tunnel, to Isla Vista. They retraced part of the path of the previous night’s incident until they reached Anisq’Oyo’ Park. At the park the participants paid tribute to those lost in the tragedy and friends of several of the victims addressed the crowd.
The annual vigils continue both in person and virtually with those participating finding solace in knowing they are part of a community which shares a history and a future of solidarity and strength. The information and links below highlight ways UCSB and Isla Vista have committed to remembering the history, victims, and values that bond our communities forever.