“Look for the Helpers”

Vigil for peace provides Rollins community a time to mourn, reflect, and unite behind humanity’s capacity to love.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

With all eyes focused on Orlando, it’s fitting that a grieving world is finding solace in the words of a gentle man who possessed deep ties to our community.

Across social media, people are sharing a simple yet profound quote from the late Rollins graduate Fred Rogers ’51 ’74H, beloved host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

“When I was a boy and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Rogers said. “To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.’”

During a vigil for peace Monday morning at Knowles Memorial Chapel, the Rev. Shawn Garvey—interim dean of the chapel and senior minister at First Congregational Church of Winter Park—spoke Rogers’ wisdom to a somber gathering of about 300 people.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, Garvey joined Rollins President Grant Cornwell and other speakers to honor the fallen and celebrate how Orlando has rallied in solidarity. Our actions, Cornwell and Garvey noted, show the world how love can overcome hate, how darkness gives way to light.

“It’s important for us to gather here today to share our vulnerabilities and grieve together,” Garvey said. “Though I did not know any of the victims, I know who they are. They’re sons and daughters, friends and loved ones. And now they’re gone.”

Wearing a black Nike T-shirt with “FEARLESS” in large rainbow letters, Rayshaun Wagner ’17 expressed how he’s struggling to comprehend that three of his friends died in the attack.

Dylan Allen ’16 shared how Pulse was like a second family, a place of safety and acceptance upon coming out as gay in college.

To speaker Mamta Accapadi, vice president for Student Affairs, the oft-repeated phrase “We will not let this define us” does not resonate. It’s OK, she said, to acknowledge that Orlando has fundamentally changed and that we are still in a space of tension.

“In moments like this, it is appropriate for our feelings and emotions to be versatile and shift,” Accapadi explained. “We need to cry, be angry, scream, and comfort each other, and then get back to work. Hug your loved ones, serve others, and advocate for dignity beyond our self-identities. Through it all, be in relationship—and let this moment absolutely define how we reclaim our humanity and pulse.”

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Rayshaun Wagner ’17 (Photo by Scott Cook) Rayshaun Wagner ’17 (Photo by Scott Cook)

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Vice President for Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi (Photo by Scott Cook) Vice President for Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi (Photo by Scott Cook)

The Rev. Shawn Garvey, interim dean of the chapel (Photo by Scott Cook) The Rev. Shawn Garvey, interim dean of the chapel (Photo by Scott Cook)

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)