MHS Students to Hold Candlelight Vigil on Saturday

The Medfield High School chapter of Amnesty International will hold a vigil on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. at the town gazebo to raise awareness for Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl fighting for women's rights in her country.

On Saturday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m., the Medfield High School Amnesty International Club will be hodling a candlelight vigil at the town gazebo to raise awareness about Malala Yousafzai. 

The public is invited to attend. 

"Malala is a young girl from Pakistan who was recently shot by the Taliban for being an activist for women's rights to education," said Elizabeth Lanzilla, a MHS junior and co-chair of the school's Amnesty International chapter.

Fourteen-year-old Yousafzai was shot, by the Taliban, in the head and neck while boarding a school bus on Oct. 11 for speaking out about the importance of girls' education, according to a story in the Huffington Post.

"We want to honor Malala and her courage and discuss similar cases that happen throughout the world, and how we can make a change throughout the world and spread peace and love instead of violence and hate," Lanzilla said. 

Lanzilla was before the Board of Selectmen last week seeking permission to hold the vigil in front of the Town House on Main Street but, after a lengthy discussion among town officials and town counsel, the board suggested the vigil take place across the street at the town gazebo beside the library. 

Town Counsel Mark Cerel warned selectmen that approving the request for a demonstration on the Town House grounds would set precedent and allow anyone at any time in the future to hold any demonstration of any kind on the town hall lawn. 

"Your consideration has to be, are you prepared to open up the area in front of Town Hall as a public forum for whatever demonstrations or assemblies that might be held in the future," he said. "The next group that comes in may be a very different message and you will have established a precedent that the area is open for that public communication." 

Town Administrator Michael Sullivan suggested the gazebo might be a better fit.

"It doesn't have the political associations that a building like a town hall does," he said. 

The Board of Selectmen agreed and approved the vigil to be held at the town gazebo.

"I think it's a much better location," said Chairman Ann Thompson. "That young woman absolutely amazes me." 

Lanzilla said she expects a dozen people but is hoping the public will attend. They will have refreshments as well as information available about Malala Yousafzai and a Get Well book -- which will be sent to Yousafzai through Amnesty International -- that people can sign.  

For more information, contact amnestymedfield@gmail.com.

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Ellen Kelliher November 28, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Colleen M. Sullivan November 28, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Great idea, Elizabeth....sending support and good wishes that many will attend. Amenesty International and you are setting a great example of goodwill to others!


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