NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Illinois State University community came together Thursday night, to remember the life of one of their own, Jelani Day.
Gathering at Redbird Arena, fellow ISU students held candles and gathered on the floor of the arena with a moment of silence which began the night.
ISU President Terri Goss Kinzy told those in attendance the importance of coming together during times of loss.
“I hope in this evening, we will lean on one another, we will find strength and support with those we love. Within our Redbird community, and for Jelani’s family,” said President Goss Kinzy.
Prayers were said, representatives from multiple student organizations gave words of encouragement, and Jelani’s classmates told stories of who he was as a person.
“Jelani was studying speech-language pathology because he wanted to make an impact on the lives of others, his name will inspire the speech-language pathology community, his story will impact the lives of young individuals across the nation, Jelani Day will not be forgotten,” said classmate Amanda Regez.
In a powerful moment, the entire crowd stood singing a song dedicated to Jelani’s family and friends.
The last remarks came from Jelani’s immediate family, who thanked the Illinois State community for showing them support through their difficult time.
“I’m just grateful, that you all have shown our family love that you’ve stood beside us, that you’ve walked this walk with us, while we were trying to find him,” said Jelani’s Mother, Carmen Bolden Day.
Bolden Day asked for continued support from the community, as they try to find answers for what happened to Jelani.