Solidarity is the silver lining

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • April 18, 2013

At Issue: Two explosions at the Boston Marathon

Our Take: In this time of pain, community shows its strength

Every Emerson student will know where they stood on Patriot’s Day 2013. Massachusetts’ signature holiday was traditionally a time for us to either stay in our pajamas until 4 p.m. or cheer on Boston Marathon runners with a Solo Cup in hand. From this year on, Patriot’s Day will take on a different meaning in our hearts.

At 2:50 p.m. on April 15, two homemade bombs were detonated in quick succession near the finish line of the Boston Marathon at Copley Square. The twin blasts, which have claimed the lives of three individuals and injured over 175, happened less than a mile from our campus. The photos from Boylston Street show a scene of terrible carnage in a space Emerson students walk through every day. 

Eight Emerson students were harmed by the explosion, the most of any college in Boston. Fortunately, the students did not suffer serious injuries and have been discharged from hospital care. Many others were not as lucky.

As rumors swirled about who the attacker could be, that more bombs were in different locations throughout the city, and as the number of those injured continued to rise, Emerson kept us and our families updated on the state of its community. Email notifications and emergency alerts told us to stay indoors. Counseling center staff made themselves available in the residence halls. President M. Lee Pelton visited students in the hospital and comforted shaken students on campus.

Within hours of the incident, as residents at Emerson were in a lockdown, Nick Reynolds and Chris Dobens created Boston Strong. The full proceeds from the $20 T-shirt will go to The One Fund, a charity organized by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Deval Patrick for families of those affected by the bombing. The two have already raised over $70,000. 

On Tuesday, the vigil in the Common amassed hundreds of people, many of whom were Emerson students. And the following day, Emerson held a community gathering in the Cutler Majestic Theatre in which there was not a single empty seat. 

As Beacon staff members reported from the scene on Monday, and others from their computers and smartphones at home, we watched firsthand as the Emerson community supported one another. We were moved to see that professors, students, and alumni made sure that each was safe. We saw that hailing from this city has a special meaning. 

The compassion that was displayed by the people of Boston, and those who have ever lived in Boston, shows that no matter where you are in the world at the time of a tragedy, you support your neighbors. 

Further, we witnessed the definition of what it means to be an Emersonian, a member of a close-knit community of thoughtful people who show that connections cut deeper than “networking”—they provide real care and support in times of crisis.