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Howard community gathers to mourn death of freshman Mohamed Samura 

Mohamed Samura, an 18-year-old freshman, died Monday morning after being struck by a car last week in front of Cook Hall.

Student and faculty leaders read the call and response to the crowd at Mohamed Samura’s memorial on the Yard on April 15. (Keith Golden Jr/The Hilltop)

About 150 Howard University students, faculty and administrators came together around the campus flagpole yesterday evening to mourn the death of Howard freshman Mohamed Samura, who died Monday morning after being hit by a car in front of Cook Hall last week.

Howard University organized a memorial at 6 p.m. on April 15 to pay homage to Samura. The event featured speeches from President Ben Vinson III, Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel Dean Rev. Bernard L. Richardson, Vice President of Student Affairs Cynthia Evers, HUSA Vice President Jay Jones and various student organizations.

“The feelings are here, the support is here. The sense of community. That all helps us to be able to deal with something tragic like this,” Richardson said, speaking to the strength and resilience of the Howard community.

Howard community members stood solemnly around the flagpole. Some sobbed silently and comforted one another while others listened intently holding flowers or photos of Samura. 

“We all grieve with those who knew Mohamed best. His family, his friends, his community,” Vinson said to the crowd. “I see no better way to honor Mohamed than with a moment like this with all of us together. We lean on each other. If you, in this moment of hardship, need assistance, we’re here for you.”

“In times like this,” Evers said following Vinson, “it’s essential that we come together as one. Students, faculty and staff.”

Howard University Students, faculty and community members left flowers at the flagpole on the Yard on April 15. (Keith Golden Jr/The Hilltop)

The attendees gathered around in a prayer to “lift their voices in remembrance and in mourning” and express gratitude for Samura’s life, and several people held white roses to place around the flagpole.

Anas Brim, a senior pre-med major from Maryland and president of the Muslim Student Association, expressed his grief about the death of Samura, who practiced Islam, and why he felt compelled to speak at the vigil.

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“We all came here with a mission. We came here to seek community amongst the other people that we are here with,” he said. “But we also came here to chase our dreams and it’s insane to hear that one less person here at Howard can’t chase their dreams anymore because of such a freak accident.”

Students at Howard expressed similar disbelief regarding the tragedy and reflected on its impact on the Howard community.

Howard University President Dr. Ben Vinson III addresses the crowd. “I never want to be here in moments like these. I never want to see these moments,” Vinson said. “Bison community, let’s mourn together.” (Keith Golden Jr/The Hilltop)

Yasmen Demps, a freshman psychology major from Atlanta said it was unexpected for a lot of people, and shared that it has taken a toll on many people around her.

“I believe that it was very sad to know that someone in my grade passed away suddenly without a real cause or like anyone to have expected that,” Demps said. “So I wanted to just come honor him.”

Michael Mollison, a sophomore television and film major and military science minor from Anchorage, Alaska, reflected on the time he shared with Samura after taking Japanese with him for the past two semesters. 

“He is part of the reason why I wanted to continue Japanese,” he said. “For my major, I only need two semesters of Japanese but I was considering minoring in Japanese just to continue my journey along, learning with him.”

A freshman marketing major from Atlanta, Samirah Nowell, spoke about Samura’s personality and character in the class they shared together. 

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“We had the same business orientation class in English. Yes, and I know that he sat next to me and he was just always lively,” Nowell said. “He always spoke up in class. He was a really sweet, nice guy. To hear that he passed so suddenly. It’s really, like, scary.”

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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