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Cal State Long Beach Lit In Blue, White & Red In Solidarity With France
Outside of Cal State Long Beach's Walter Pyramid arena last night, the building glowed the blue, white and red colors of the French flag in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.
This comes just days after Friday's deadly attacks, where Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old CSULB senior who was studying a semester abroad at an exchange program at France's Strate School of Design, was killed. She was one of the 17 CSULB students attending the design program in France, and is the only American to be named as one of the victims, according to the Press-Telegram. A total of 129 people were killed in the wave of gun and bomb attacks that took place in different locations throughout Paris, including an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Le Bataclan venue and outside the Stade de France sports arena.
CSULB spokeswoman, Terri M. Carbaugh, told LAist about what the lit-up Walter Pyramid means to the school:
The Pyramid is among Long Beach State University’s most iconic structures. This Pyramid can be seen by hundreds of thousands people who live in Southern California and by those who fly overhead and land in the Long Beach Airport. In solidarity with the people living in France we were tremendously proud to display their county’s colors on our campus’ most treasured landmark. Inside the Pyramid our men’s basketball team paused for a moment of silence to honor our fallen student Nohemi Gonzalez and to comfort the more than 80 French foreign exchange students who attend our university and who are suffering too. We were also thrilled that our basketball team won the game that evening, they found comfort in that victory and are praying for a similar victory for the people of France.
On that tragic night, Gonzalez, who was from El Monte, was dining with two other CSULB students at a popular Parisian bistro, La Belle Equipe. Niran Jayasiri, her 29-year-old friend who was dining, told the New York Daily News about those final moments before her death.
"The first thing I heard was the noise like firecrackers," Jayasiri told the Daily News. "Then I saw the gunman. He was across the street from us, coming from behind us and walking in our direction."
The gunman shot throughout the crowd, and everyone ran off into different directions out of instinct, Jayasiri said. After he took cover, he tried calling Gonzalez's cell phone, but could not reach her, only to later find out the heartbreaking news that she was killed.
On Sunday, CSULB held a vigil for Gonzalez that brought out about 500 people who paid their respects. A memorial for Gonzalez, who was a senior majoring in industrial design, was set up in the CSULB Design Building.
"She was so excited to be in Paris," Martin Herman, the chair of the university's design department, told NBC Los Angeles. "May Nohemi’s voice, bright spirit, playfulness, ideals and hope continue to inspire and illuminate the department of design, her university family and all those she touched during her all too short time with us."
Another candlelight vigil for Gonzalez will be held today at 4:30 p.m. on the lawn of Whittier High School, the school she graduated from in 2010.
Gonzalez's mother, Beatriz Gonzalez, talked to Anderson Cooper on CNN about her daughter's death, while tearing up. "She was my only daughter. She's my youngest. I'm just going with my pain day by day. By seeing her right now, it's hard for me, hard for me even to talk. I never thought it was going to be us today, right here, suffering in all this pain for our lost."
Since the attacks, other L.A. buildings—including LAX, L.A. City Hall and the U.S. Bank Tower—have been lit in blue, white and red to show their solidarity with Paris:
Photos: Hundreds Pay Tribute To Paris At Westwood Vigil
Solidarity With Paris: 1 World Trade Center Spire Lit In Blue, White And Red
In Solidarity With Paris, SF City Hall Lit Up Blue, White and Red; SFPD On 'Heightened Alert'