Palestinians in Utah mourn those killed as the war enters its fourth week

Oct 29, 2023, 10:12 PM | Updated: Oct 30, 2023, 2:31 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A large crowd gathered at the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City Sunday to mourn the loss of Palestinian lives as the war in Israel enters its fourth week.

En Canada, a Palestinian-American, organized the vigil.

“A lot of people are afraid to talk so I’m trying to be a little bit brave and share what I’m feeling,” Canada said.

A moment for peace and prayers


Prayers, calls for peace, and tears were projected into the megaphone.

Tala Hammond was one of the speakers. She is the first in her family to be born in the United States.

“It feels a little bit exhausting just because I feel like all of us have been pouring our hearts out very publicly,” she said.

She was raised in Utah.

“I didn’t realize how big our community is here,” Hammond said.

She said she’s spent the last few weeks talking about where she’s from and what’s happening there.

“That’s been interesting to have to always explain what is Palestine, where is that, which feels odd, especially, this is a heavily religious state and that is the Holy Land,” Hammond said.

She welcomed people of all faiths to vigil. She said it’s in line with Palestinian values.

“We’re not against any religions, that’s not what this is about, and hating any religions is very counterproductive to the cause,” she said.

She and Canada said it’s hard to process the uncensored images and information circulating daily.

“It’s just been hard to watch a genocide in 4k,” Canada said.

A way to cope


To help them cope, people at the vigil were invited to write thoughts or tributes on a card. Bouquets of flowers and candles decorated an altar. A group of Pacific Islanders presented a tapa cloth offering as a show of support for Palestine.

“This fills me with so much love and hope and restores my faith in humanity just a tiny bit,” Hammond said.

Together, they grieved the deaths of more than 8,000 Palestinians, the injured, and the displaced.

“I think that we’re all petrified that if we take too long, there is no Gaza and there is no Gazans,” Hammond said.

They said this war is more than just numbers.

“It’s important that we stick up for everybody, remember that everyone is human,” Canada said.

Several people in attendance said they believe a ceasefire needs to happen. The UN general assembly passed a resolution Friday calling for a truce to stop fighting. The United States voted against that resolution.

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Palestinians in Utah mourn those killed as the war enters its fourth week