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Credit: Samantha Turner

Dear members of the Penn community:

We are hurting, grieving, and longing for a return to campus. We know you are, too.

In a “normal” year, we come together in front of the LOVE statue on College Green in times of stress and strain. We lock arms, raise our voices, advocate, agitate, laugh, cry, and heal as a community. The COVID-19 pandemic has robbed us of cathartic in-person opportunities when we need them the most.

On Wednesday, Oct. 21, we invite you to join us — remotely — for “Penn Remembers: A Virtual Vigil.”

We invite you to dedicate time that day to pause and be present with the enormous challenges we’ve experienced in 2020. If you are so inclined, please use #PennRemembers to gather and ground this unique global experience. We aim to curate content throughout the day on social media and a dedicated website.

#PennRemembers is a time to mourn the staggering loss of more than one million people to this pandemic. It’s 24 hours to reflect on the racial injustice, natural disasters, and political turmoil that have further scarred a difficult year. It’s permission to pray, shout, and dream aloud of brighter days.

Some may create a piece of art. Others may do yoga or go for a long run. You might use the time to journal or write a poem. Some of us will live tweet our #PennRemembers. Others will meditate. Singers will sing, dancers will dance. Housemates may light candles together at their kitchen table. Friends and teammates might host #PennRemembers via Zoom.

#PennRemembers can be as private or public as you want or need it to be. Give yourself permission to take time to breathe and unburden between classes and club activities. The simple act of disrupting daily routines can be rejuvenating and restorative for our collective health and wellness.

Whatever you do for #PennRemembers, please know we miss you and stand with you in sympathy, solidarity, and hope. 

MAMTA MOTWANI ACCAPADI is the Vice Provost for University Life

KELLY DIAZ is the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly

CHARLES L. HOWARD is Penn’s University Chaplain and the University Vice President for Social Equity & Community

MERCEDES OWENS is the President of the Undergraduate Assembly

LAURA PERNA is the Vice Provost for Faculty and Centennial Presidential Professor at the Graduate School of Education