Mourners Attend Emotional Oikos Memorial
Caitlin Esch reports about 150 people sat in folding chairs under two tents in front of the university. University founder and president Jongin Kim spoke and expressed his grief. He also announced the university would create a memorial fund for the victims’ families. There was music and singing. Mourners lined up to place white carnations in front of photographs of the seven victims. At least one, pictured to the left surrounded by cameramen and photographers, fell to his knees and sobbed uncontrollably. The memorial lasted about an hour-and-a-half.
Esch said one teacher told her the university, which is now on spring break, is considering pushing back the resumption of classes another week. He said some of his students have told him they do not want to return.
Esch says many of the mourners, who don’t speak English, feel accosted by the media, as you might deduce from the photo.
Our community is deeply saddened by the cruel attack that took place at our school on April 2. We pray that God may comfort the families and friends of the victims, and the souls of those seven individuals who lost their lives. It is difficult to find the right words to console the families going through this indescribable tragedy. The administration and staff of Oikos Community wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to all of those affected by this terrible event.
Over the past week we have been encouraged by the outpouring of support that has reached us from all over the world. We would like to thank Oakland Mayor Jean Quan as well as the police officers and emergency responders who quickly responded to the shooting and personally tended to our staff and victims’ families. We thank the local pastors and other spiritual leaders who have mourned with us. And we are especially grateful to Korean Ambassador Jung Kwan Lee, who visited the university and have his personal support to all of us.
The name of our school – “Oikos”- has several different meanings but foremost is its translation: “How important life is.” We take that meaning very seriously. Since our founding in 2004 all of us at Oikos have worked hard to fulfill this value through all of our course offerings. It is instilled in the way our faculty have faithfully served our students. This is why we have launched a Nursing and Asian Medicine School in addition to our Theological School. Our student body, though small, comes from 16 different countries and represents many different ethnic groups. Our students have worked diligently and done all they can to fulfill the American dream of success and acceptance. But most of our students have also been challenged financially and the school has done everything it can to support their dreams.
We understand how important it is to continue this mission, which will unquestionably continue despite this tragedy. We may be a small institution but we believe that God has greater purposes and has led our school to this point for a reason.
There is no place for violence in our society. All of us have to focus on the value of human life, and on the goodness of each individual. We wish once again to extend our love and grief to the families and friends of the victims.
All of us associated with Oikos are grateful for the opportunities that America provides to those who work hard to achieve their personal goals and dreams. We thank God for allowing us to continue in our mission.
Thank you. God bless America, and all of you.