Southern Illinois rallies behind France following attacks

People in southern Illinois are showing their support for Paris. Around 100 people attended a candlelight vigil Sunday night in Carbondale.

Along with lit candles and posters of support, Carbondale officials joined in with residents and students for a silent show of support for the Paris victims. 

One of those in attendance was Bertille Baron, a grad student studying at Southern Illinois University. She says having family in friends in France makes the attacks all too real.

"It was, yes, it was very scary," said Baron.

Baron, who grew up just two and a half hours from Paris, was Skyping with her parents in Caen when the attacks in Paris were beginning Friday. She says the sites of the violence were places she knows well.

"It’s very scary, and again, the very fact that it happened in places that are familiar to me make it more unreal, but very real at the same time," Baron said.

She says it’s difficult being away from home now, but says she’s seeing lots of support from those in Carbondale and all over the world through social media. Baron says she’s seeing the world unite against terror attacks like the one that happened Friday in France and similar attacks around the world. She says France is quickly becoming a symbol for unity against terror, bringing people together after the violence.

"I feel French more than ever before," Baron said.

And after the attacks in Paris, it’s a feeling she won’t soon forget.

Illinois Reacts

Governor Bruce Rauner says Illinois will stop accepting new Syrian refugees after the terror attacks. Rauner says the state has to balance its tradition of welcoming refugees while, “ensuring the safety and security of our citizens”. 

Carbondale City Councilman Adam Loos, one of many city officials who attended Sunday night’s candlelight vigil to support France, says he doesn’t believe that’s the right call.

"I’m not sure that’s within Governor Rauner’s authority and I don’t think we should walk down a path of xenophobia. That’s not helpful for anybody,” Loos said.

Rauner’s announcement follows similar announcements from a rising number of state officials around the U.S.

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