An amazing example of humanity and the depth of the human spirit was on display Tuesday evening at Michigan Technological University. More than 150 students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for a memorial to honor Sanaz Nezami. The 27-year-old woman who lived in Dollar Bay, was admitted to a master's program at Tech but was killed before she could begin her studies here.
At Tuesday's service, people spoke of her kindness, her intelligence, her accomplishments and her compassion and history of giving to others. What made the event all the more astonishing was the fact that not one of those in attendance, nor any of the speakers, had ever met Sanaz Nezami.
Born and raised in Tehran, she was embraced as a countryman by the Tech's Iranian Community.
Faculty, staff and students in environmental engineering, her chosen field of study, Tech's graduate school and international programs all recognized her as a kindred spirit as well, sight unseen.
In fact, she had to do absolutely nothing to be mourned and missed by an entire community, such is the capacity of the human heart for love.
Dozens of people waited in line to sign a memory book that will be sent to her family in Iran, expressing their sorrow for their loss. A loss that was felt so deeply by so many, who by definition were strangers.
What those who attended Tuesday witnessed was one of the strongest characteristics of the human spirit - the need to belong, to be part of something. Whether that "something" was Iranian, international student, engineer, woman or simply another human, Sanaz Nezami's life and death, which came far too soon, remind us that we really are not alone. That we are all in this together. If that is all that we end up taking away after her service on Tuesday, then her death was not in vain.