Students, faculty, staff, friends and family gathered April 7 in the Cawein Art Gallery to honor the one-year anniversary of the passing of two Pacific students, freshmen Kiden Dilla and Ayan Osman at a remembrance and dedication service.
Dilla and Osman’s family arrived at the gallery to be greeted by the Black Student Union, President Lesley Hallick, Mayor Pete Truax and many members of the Pacific community paying their respects.
To commemorate the lives of Dilla and Osman, Black Student Union adviser Yashica Island announced that the university would be dedicating a memorial bench with a plaque to be completed within the year in the women’s names as well as an art piece by junior Mahala Nelson commemorating their bond and interreligious understanding.
Pacific was struck with tragedy one year ago when the two freshmen were killed in a car accident at the intersection of Oregon Highway 47 and Verboort Road. More than 225 Pacific and Forest Grove community members gathered at their memorial to honor their lives and ask for safer revisions to be made to the intersection.
In response to their deaths and the deaths of several other people at that intersection, the Oregon Department of Transportation, ODOT, will soon be breaking ground on a round-about to go at the intersection.
Truax said ODOT has already approved a pre-budget of $750,000 and is waiting on the purchasing of the land to implement the roundabout. He said they hope to start construction in the summer of 2015.
In addition to honoring the lives of Dilla and Osman, Island made it a point to honor the year of community service initiatives their families took along with the Black Student Union, in honor of the students.
Yashica said the families traveled across the world, helping those in need to cherish the giving spirit of their daughters.
Hallick spoke to that giving spirit, saying the women were integral parts of the university that will always be cherished.
To close the service, Yashica spoke about the lasting impact the women made on Pacific, saying their passing encouraged a tighter knit and more gentle community among the students.
The memorial bench and plaque are located between Trombly Square and the Library.
Nelson’s artwork, honoring Dilla and Osman, as well as a display about the service work done by their families can be seen in the Cawein Art Gallery.