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Editorial: Remembering those we have lost

TNH Editorial Staff
The concept of community and the state of ours here at UNH is brought up quite often on these pages. One of the strongest aspects of the community has been the public display of support during the trying times we have endured over the last few years.
In October 2012, a crowd of 200 individuals made up of UNH students, faculty, and family and friends of UNH student Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott gathered in front of Thompson Hall to hold a vigil in her memory. Lizzi was brutally raped and murdered by UNH alumnus Seth Mazzaglia in Dover, who disposed her body into the water at Pierce Island in Portsmouth. A year later, students came together again in memory of Jonathan Zygmont, a UNH student who took his own life.
Students continue to show their compassion with memorial services for the deaths of other young people around the nation who represent a greater cause. In the fall, several students gathered for a vigil in honor of Michael Brown, the young man who was shot and killed by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. On Tuesday, a vigil will be held for Leelah Alcorn and Andi Woodhouse, two young individuals whose recent suicides sparked a national conversation. Tuesday’s vigil will be sponsored by several UNH organizations including Trans UNH and UNH Alliance with the aim to “raise awareness for transgender rights and suicide prevention,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
Such services reflect an empathetic community that is fully invested in raising awareness for such social justice issues as LGBTQ+ rights and the fight against racism. For this, we commend the UNH community and the individuals within it that organize these events.
What students may not know is that our community lost two individuals, one a current student and the other a recent alumnus, over the winter break. Riley Leavitt, 21 of Dover, and Brian Colbert, 23 of Hampstead, died in separate car accidents within two days of one another in late December.
Although the circumstances of their deaths differ from those of the people discussed above, their lives were just as valuable and deserve the same memory. We may not know the details of their lives, as they have not been covered in the media to the same extent as the aforementioned.
We hope anyone in the UNH community who wishes to share their memories of Riley or Brian will contact us. We want to share your stories and give them their place in the history of UNH.
As members of the UNH community, they deserve to be remembered.

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