To contrast, a candlelight vigil is an assembly or gathering of people outdoors after sunset for one or more purposes to protest for an oppressed group of people, and such vigils may also be used for religious or spiritual purposes whereas a candlelight memorial is for a person or group of people who has died tragically or unfairly. A candlelight vigil and memorial are often mixed together. A memorials significance is understandable, especially as a condolence to a victim’s friends and family or solidarity to like-minded people. In short, in its most basic element, it is an expression of love. But for people who frequent candlelight vigils, what is its significance?
If it is to change minds or even to pressure people to sway to favor…good luck. There would have to be reasons….a speech…something emotional and symbolic for people who do not share the vigil. The only other way I can see that goal being accomplished is if someone is deeply swayed by emotion to change their opinion. Like I said before….good luck.
If it is to “show the presence of” (a cause, a community, etc) or to simply “never forget,” doing something else will pretty much guarantee either. Holding a debate on an issue, for instance, will not only check those two just mentioned off the list but may actually change some minds.
What I am trying to lay out is that it seems candlelight vigils are useless, tantamount to saying something while saying nothing at all. It reminds me of a candidate running for office. However, I do find one useful thing about it. I have been to several candlelight vigils in the past and I have found most of them sobering experiences. Check candlelight memorial on the list. Causes including Transgender Remembrance Day, AIDS Day, and many others may easily illicit melancholy but I have also felt a sense of doing “something.” But another issue arises if you look deeper into that feeling. That “something,” in the shadow of anything is very, very easy to do. Just show up. Then, if you have felt what I have felt from the realization of actually caring for what you are supporting then you will come to see the joke of what you have done or been doing. To be less abstract, if you really care about a cause, ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT. It takes at least a bit of humbleness that comes with self-reflection to not only notice but truly appreciate when people really do care. Those people get their hands dirty.