Hillel event reflects on one year anniversary of Spierer disappearance

A ceremony was conducted Friday at the Simone G. Hillel Center in remembrance of Lauren Spierer’s disappearance one year ago.

The program featured a screening of the Spierers’ appearance earlier that day on the TODAY Show, a letter the Spierers wrote to the Bloomington community and speeches by individuals prominent in the investigation.

A crowd of about 40 people attended the event.

“We just want to let the day go by and thank all folks who’ve been active and involved,” IU Dean of Students Harold “Pete” Goldsmith said. “It’s to come together to think about these things and think about Lauren.”

Goldsmith mentioned how incredible the student and community response to the case was.

In April 2011, IU established its first Culture of Care Week. The now annual event is a student-led initiative that advocates bystander intervention and attempts to create a culture in which compassionate action is the norm.

The Lifeline Law, an act that grants legal immunity for all people who call 911 while intoxicated, was also passed. Both actions were partly inspired by Lauren’s disappearance.

But the center of the conversation was, of course, Lauren.

Bloomington resident April Cole said she was sad but “not completely shocked” that a year has passed since the disappearance.

“Persons of interest have been very adamant about staying silent, and without new information nothing can be done,” she said.

Rabbi Sue Laikin Siberberg of the Hillel Center said pressure must remain on suspected individuals to say more than they are revealing.

“She didn’t just vanish, a spaceship from outer space did not just come take her,” Siberberg said. “Either the person feels incredibly guilty or they’re just completely uncaring.”

During their TODAY Show appearance the Spierers mentioned the impact on the family.

“As time goes by, you become more and more realistic about the possibility of her being alive,” Charlene Spierer said. “Of course, that would take a certain set of circumstances to have happened that night, so we just don’t know.”

The Spierers urged individuals with information to contact the Bloomington Police Department.

At the end of the event, audience members wrote notes to the Spierer family. Then, the group read a prayer that voiced a hope for answers and Lauren’s safe return.

“We join together as a community in between worlds of hope and despair,” they recited. “At this difficult time, we reach out to the Source of all Life and to one another to weave a shelter of peace and a tapestry of love.”

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