We quickly realized that many who attended this vigil desired to exploit our pain to support political agendas. To his credit, Sen. Michael Bennett did briefly begin with his sympathies; however, he immediately began speaking about “broken gun laws in America.” Similarly, Lauren Reeves of Moms Demand Action stressed electing “gun-smart politicians” and increasing gun restrictions and laws.

That isn’t why we gathered together. Though these speakers may have had good intentions, they badly misread what we needed from this vigil. STEM students were looking for solace and a place to publicly honor the life of Kendrick so that the nation knows what he did for our school.

Kendrick was loved by many, and to disrespect his memory with selfish intent was something we did not have the stomach for. He was a human being, not a statistic, and most certainly not a political prop. How the vigil was conducted only proves that politicians are too far removed from the situation to even help us.