PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) -Friends, family, and the Portland State community gathered on campus Saturday to remember and celebrate the life of Amara Marluke. The 19-year-old student was shot and killed near campus earlier this week.
“We are gathering here today at Portland State University in solidarity to mourn the tragic loss of one of our students Amara Marluke,” said PSU President Stephen Percy. “We come together to mourn, to learn, reflect, as well to celebrate the many wonderful ideas, actions, commitments and energy that this young student had at Portland State. We hope to learn from that experience and have that energy part of it because her experience at Portland State makes us very sure that she is the best of Portland State and we want to honor her and treasure her. ”
PSU held a “Celebration of Life” memorial at Smith Memorial Student Union Saturday afternoon.
Those who knew her say she was an activist and talented musician. She was attending PSU and was a student in the Sonic Arts and Music Production program.
“Amara was a bright, kind girl,” said Nya Mbock, president of the Associated Students of Portland State University. “I wish I would have had more of an opportunity to get to know her and I know that she would have been an amazing addition to all of the efforts we have here on campus to advocate for students and involve students and I am glad that I get to be here and I am humbled that I get to meet her family and to honor her today and moving forward. It’s really important to be able to treasure Amara and her experience and to be able to come together as students. I am really glad that we have been a part of the planning process and we have gotten to make sure this event feels reflective of who she is and her passions being a student and as a person. I think that it’s easy to feel so separated as students and to be able to come together and celebrate her and to be a part of that celebration makes us feel more like a community. “
Following the tragic shooting, PSU notified students and faculty of available resources.
“We have activated our full range of mental health and counseling services for our students, faculty, and other people who may need to have some help during this very difficult period,” said Percy. “If there is additional help needed we will provide that as well because we do want to help people to deal with this tragedy effectively and for their own mental welfare being.”
20-year-old Keenan Harpole, a PSU student and former football player for the university, was arrested in connection to the deadly shooting. He’s been charged with 2nd degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon. He is being held without bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.
“I think that the more conversation we have the more openness we offer one another and the more opportunities we have to celebrate her and talk about her and domestic violence and talk about what it looks like to support each other as students as people, as a community is so incredibly important, ”said Mbock. “This is not the last time we are going to be having conversations and holding space for her and for any student experiencing this”
A GoFundMe has been set up for the family.
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