Ryerson pulls its wicks out for Harambe

As the evening proceeded, Harambe's vigil at Lake Devo grew larger.

As the evening proceeded, Harambe’s vigil at Lake Devo grew larger. (Andrea Vacl)

About 150 people gathered at Lake Devo Thursday night at a candle-lit vigil for Harambe, the western lowland gorilla who was killed last May when a child fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The incident vaulted Harambe into Internet stardom, making the gorilla one of the most popular memes of 2016.

Some vigil attendees lit candles for Harambe. Most took pictures on their smartphones.

Some vigil attendees lit candles for Harambe. Most took pictures on their smartphones. (Andrea Vacl)

Attendees joined hands and lit candlesdonated by Bed, Bath and Beyondand presented tokens of tribute that included bananas, gorilla masks and dildos.

There were no #DicksOutForHarambe. Only this dildo.

There were no #DicksOutForHarambe. Only this dildo. (Andrea Vacl)

The event’s organizer, Mustafa Malick was quick to brand the event a joke.

“As you guys know, it’s obviously, clearly made through a meme,” Malick said during his opening speech.

Event coordinator Mustafa Malick opens the vigil with a speech about Harambe. (Andrea Vacl)

Event coordinator Mustafa Malick opens the vigil with a speech about Harambe. (Andrea Vacl)

Malick got the idea for the vigil a week ago and decided to plan a Facebook event. Within 24 hours, 1,000 people were listed as interested in attending. Malick said he doesn’t know why Harambe resonates with so many people online.

Some attendees brought beers and other substances to Harambe's vigil at Lake Devo. (Andrea Vacl)

Some attendees brought beers and other substances to Harambe’s vigil at Lake Devo. (Andrea Vacl)

Justin Licari came all the way from McMaster to attend the vigil. He said he’s trying to attend as many Harambe events as possible.

“I see this as a joke that we can all enjoy but also that we could remember that animal rights are just as important as human rights,” Licari said.

Licari’s brother, Jonathan Licari, is a Ryerson student and called the event a blessing.  He said that people overlooked Harambe’s story “just like a lot of the news.”

The Lacari brothers want to keep Harambe's image trending on social media

The Lacari brothers want to keep Harambe’s image trending on social media. (Andrea Vacl)

Despite this oversight, Jonathan expects the vigil to be an annual event and predicts that Harambe’s death will become a statutory holiday.

“Since Harambe’s spirit lasts forever, I think that that can only mean that the hype train is going to last forever as well,” Licari said.

Last week, Queen’s University planned its own vigil for Harambe. There are more vigils expected to take place at Laurier, Guelph, Trent, McGill and McMaster.

Harambe Vigil Ryerson

Some vigil attendees started chants for Harambe throughout the evening. (Andrea Vacl)

Vigil goers elbowed their way to get the best angle on Harambe's vigil at Lake Devo.

Vigil goers elbowed their way to get the best angle on Harambe’s vigil at Lake Devo. (Andrea Vacl)

(Andrea Vacl)

A framed photo of Harambe, candles and a gorilla mask were at the centre of the vigil. (Andrea Vacl)

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