“A thousand words won’t bring you back, I know because I’ve tried, neither will a thousand tears, I know because I’ve cried.”
This statement was printed on the back of the shirts of Ivan Aguilar’s family as they sat at a memorial service for Aguilar on Thursday afternoon.
Members of the Cal Poly Pomona branches of Hermanos Unidos and Hermanas Unidas gathered alongside faculty, staff and students around the flagpole at the old stables to commemorate the passing of a year without Aguilar. Aguilar was a 21-year-old CPP Communication student who was hit by a car and killed on Feb. 28, 2013 as he rode his bike to campus.
Earlier this week, a memorial for Aguilar was placed near the site of the accident, near the Kellogg Ave. bridge. The memorial is a large rock with a plaque that reads “In loving memory of Ivan A. Aguilar. A great son, a great brother, a great colleague. Always in our hearts and memory you will always be remembered,” and has a picture of Aguilar and the dates of his birth and death.
“This memorial establishes a life that will never be forgotten, a life of a guy that brought us memories to cherish forever,” said Diego Castro, a member of Hermanos Unidos.
The memorial began with an introduction by Castro and Hermanas Unidas member Aracely Preciado. Castro and Preciado thanked the crowd for coming and talked about Aguilar’s life, death and legacy.
“For those of you who knew Ivan, he was a very happy, positive, genuine and giving person,” said Preciado. “There was never a dull moment with Ivan around. He was just the type of person that would brighten everyone’s day. His love for life was bigger than anything.”
After the opening speeches, Aguilar’s family was called up to be recognized. Aguilar’s younger sister, Alex Aguilar; younger brother, Adrian Aguilar and father, Raul Aguilar thanked Hermanos Unidos and the CPP community for the support.
“I would just like to thank everyone for coming out, it really shows that a lot of people did care about him and that we really all appreciate it,” said Adrian Aguilar.
Hermanos Unidos Co-chairs Omar Bernabe and Michael Rodriguez clad in black pants and gray shirts with remembrance patches stitched on the arms then recognized individuals that were instrumental in the fundraising efforts for Ivan Aguilar’s memorial.
CPP’s Gas Creative Group, the Sigma Chi Theta fraternity’s Sigma chapter, Director of Student Life and Cultural Centers Byron Howlett and Cesar Chavez Center coordinator Lorena Marquez were recognized for their help and support.
Marquez said Ivan Aguilar had a huge impact on her, and was crucial in her life, even helping her to make a decision about her future.
“You never come into this profession thinking you’re going to lose a student,” said Marquez. “But Ivan had taught me so much and every day I see him in all the students... And because of him, I went back to school, it was because of him I went. So he’s with me all the time.”
The group then moved from the hill down to where the memorial rests where flowers and the painted white ghost bike were placed near the memorial as family, friends, members of Hermanos Unidos and the campus community touched and kissed the memorial, blessed and remembered Ivan Aguilar.
“I just wanted to share one story, walking over here with the bike [the ghost bike we had out last year]...the sun was shining and the birds were chirping and, that’s Ivan,” said Marquez. “He’s here with us right now, so don’t forget that. He’s in our memories...and he will never be forgotten.