More than 100 people gathered Monday night in the chilly Canadian city of Winnipeg to honor a 6-year-old Latina who perished at the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
Winnipeg Free Press is reporting Ana Márquez-Greene was honored with a candlelit vigil featuring prayers, aboriginal drumming and silent reflection. The little girl and her family previously spent three years in Winnipeg before they moved to small New England town of 27,000 in July. Ana was one of the 20 children who died last Friday.
Authorities said the man who committed the massacre, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot his mother Nancy, a gun enthusiast, at the home they shared. He then took her car and some of her guns to the school, where he broke in and opened fire. A total of 26 people, including Ana, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. Lanza took his own life.
Ana’s mother, Nelba Marquez-Greene, is noted as a therapist at the University of Winnipeg, whereas her father, Jimmy Green, taught music at the University of Manitoba.
“My heart is just so sad and devastated by the whole episode,” said Linda Treverton told the paper. While Treverton didn’t know Ana personally, she brought purple candles to the University of Winnipeg. Purple was noted as the child’s favorite color.
The outdoor vigil took place at the U of W’s Aurora Family Centre, the same place Ana’s mother worked for two years before the family headed back to the U.S.
After teaching for three years, the Márquez-Greene family returned to Connecticut, Jimmy’s home state. According to the news site, the Hartford native is currently a music professor and assistant jazz program coordinator at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn.
“Ana was just like her mother–smart, generous and full of life,” said family friend Alys-Lynne West. "She was spunky, very, very smart…very articulate.”
In “a family-endorsed memorial page” on Facebook, titled “Remembering Ana Márquez-Greene,” a video was posted showing Ana singing the hymn “Come Thou Almighty King” alongside her older brother Isaiah playing piano. He was also at the elementary school where the shooting occurred, but was not injured.
A second vigil is planned Tuesday night at the University of Manitoba.
The Aurora Family Therapy Centre established a “Ana Grace Marquez-Green Memorial Scholarship.” The University of Winnipeg Foundation set up a page where people can donate.
West explained the little girl’s family has been relying on their religious faith to cope with the sudden loss.
“The Márquez-Greene family share a very strong faith that is unwavering and inspiring,” said West on the Facebook page.
“That faith, along with the deep love from their family and friends, is what we believe will help carry them during this time of unimaginable sorry at the death of their beautiful and vibrant, Ana Grace.”