Isla Vista residents comfort each other in the wake of May's murders
Paul Wellman (file)

Individuals affected by the Isla Vista killings in May now have an opportunity to make their voices heard in the tentatively titled “IVStrong Collaboration: Looking Beyond May 23,” a multimedia anthology-to-be commemorating the experiences and resiliency of residents who were there. Co-editors Kyley Scarlet, Monica Lopez, and Marisela Márquez have put out an open call for submissions, due January 15 of next year, asking for any media — poetry, fiction, essays, articles, videos, photos, artwork — through which students, IV residents, and others may choose to speak their truths.

The anthology is intended to share the stories of those affected by the tragedy, as well as a means of documenting the widespread support that sprang up in the days that followed. The co-editors describe the anthology in a statement as “a collaborative piece that stems out of the community that was affected — not by the media outlets that tried to define us themselves.”

The three co-editors were all active members of campus life at the time — Scarlet served as Internal VP for the Associated Students, Lopez as KCSB’s News Director, and Márquez as a faculty member and AS Executive Director. Between them, they felt a need to commemorate the shared support between students amidst sudden violence, and a greater need to continue discussions on campus and off, even after national attention has turned elsewhere.

Whereas news teams focused on the terror of tragedy, the anthology will highlight the more positive sides, Márquez said. “No one has really come close to describing how people cared for each other,” she said. The anthology will “facilitate a method by which people can speak for themselves and share what they went through, as a way to continue the healing process,” she said.

Scarlet agreed, calling the anthology “our way to show the world how we reacted as a community, because we believe the world hasn’t seen that.” Scarlet expressed her dismay how much media coverage focused on Elliott Rodger, the shooter, instead of the many kind actions between community members in the moments and months following. “Nationally, Isla Vista is just portrayed as this negative place, but none of the millions of small actions of students, nor what this community truly stands for, were portrayed at all really,” she said. “It was such a beautiful community before this happened, and it is an even more beautiful community now.”

Scarlet hopes the anthology will allow those still reeling from the tragedy to express their grief, and will demonstrate to other communities the ways a neighborhood can heal after a shooting. “As of now, there have been 50 school shootings this year since Isla Vista, and 84 since Sandy Hook, so why is this still happening? I want this to be a project to keep the conversation going, to say, hey, this isn’t over,” she said, mentioning the many underlying cultural issues — among them misogyny and racism — inflamed amidst the tragedy but subsequently snuffed out in media coverage.

The medium and content of the anthology will depend on submissions. All work must be submitted with a signed contribution release and emailed to by January 15, 2015 to be considered for inclusion.


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