TIME Kenya

Kenyans Are Using the #147NotJustaNumber Hashtag to Honor Those Killed at Garissa

Kenyans attend a candle lit vigil late Tuesday at Uhuru park in capital Nairobi in memory of the people killed in last week's deadly attack on northern Kenya's Garissa University College, on April 7, 2015.
Recep Canik—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Kenyans attend a candle lit vigil late Tuesday at Uhuru park in capital Nairobi in memory of the people killed in last week's deadly attack on Kenya's Garissa University College, on April 7, 2015.

The powerful campaign aims to "humanize the victims of terror"

Kenyans have launched a social media campaign to remember those who died at last week’s massacre at Garissa University College in eastern Kenya, where terrorist al-Shabaab gunmen killed 148 people, most of them students aged between 19 and 23.

Using the hashtag #147notjustanumber, people are posting pictures of loved ones to Twitter and often sharing biographical details to give faces to the people behind the grim, anonymous death toll.

Among the many heartbreaking stories of loss is 22-year-old Gideon Kirui, whose whole village had raised money for him to go to university. There is Selpher Wandia, 21, who dreamed of becoming a teacher, and Peter Masinde, 32, an officer who was shot as he entered the campus. He leaves behind a pregnant wife.

Ory Okolloh Mwangi started the campaign on Sunday, when the number of victims was still being counted. She told the Wall Street Journal that the hashtag was “an effort to humanize the victims of terror.”

On Wednesday, hundreds of people held a candle-lit vigil in the capital, Nairobi to remember those who died, the BBC reports. Ahead of the vigil, about 2,500 people marched in Garissa and several hundred in Nairobi, demanding tighter security at colleges and campuses and answers for how the attacks could happen.

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