Virtual Vigil Honors Life Of Howard Sophomore

Zaniyah L. Griffin was a sophomore student in the College of Arts & Sciences.

By Alexis McCowan, Howard University News Service

Washington, DC —An array of sunflower backdrops appeared on a virtual screen at a vigil honoring the memory of a fellow Bison.

On September 13, the Howard University community gathered to celebrate the life of Zaniyah L. Griffin. Zaniyah was a sophomore student in the College of Arts & Sciences, majoring in Biology. Zaniyah was a resident of the Harriet Tubman Quadrangle and a member of the Quad Step Team. 

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Cynthia Evers, gave the opening remarks. 

“This gathering reminds us that we are a community, where we are bound by a common goal of truth, service, friendship and love. This virtual vigil is proof of those values,” said Evers.

Evers continued, “We gather to celebrate her life and the special place where she studied, learned, grew and developed into the lovely young lady that captured our attention through her vibrancy, her passion for life, her leadership and fun loving spirit.”

After the opening remarks, the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel Choir performed a virtual selection of Total Praise by Richmand Smallwood.

Dean of Chapel, Reverend Bernard L. Richardson followed with the opening prayer. 

Fellow member of the Quad step team, Nia Anderson presented a video in honor of Zaniyah. Scenes of the team and positive words played throughout the video. 

Mariam Badejo, Zaniyah’s close friend gave remarks on how Zaniyah impacted her life. 

“She’s played a big part in how my life is right now. We had a lot planned for what we would do at Howard together but I will try my best to do everything we wanted to do at Howard for her in memory of her,” said Badejo.

Howard University student and resident assistant, Maia Regman said that when students come to campus one constantly hears the phrase, a Howard woman. Maia Regman said Zaniyah was the embodiment of it.

“Coming in as a freshman you have as many fears as you have goals, meeting Zaniyah all I could tell was that she had goals. She was fearless because she knew that her goals were already hers, said Regman. 

Regman continued, “She fought for what she wanted, she fought for she loved and she fought for what she deserved in a world that does not invite black women to wear laid pink frontals, to excel in biology, and tell life what she was going to get out of it.”

This saddening loss deeply pained the Howard family. Zaniyah’s impact and light will be remembered by many.