GREENVILLE, S.C. — A candle light vigil will be held this Friday, May 16, on the one-year anniversary of the murder of openly gay college student Sean Kennedy.

The event is co-hosted by Sean’s Last Wish, Faith in America and the South Carolina Progressive Network. The vigil will begin at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Greenville’s Main Street Plaza.

On May 16, 2007, Sean Kennedy died from injuries sustained after being punched in the face outside a Greenville bar in an apparent anti-gay hate crime.

Following Sean’s tragic death, his mother Elke Kennedy established Sean’s Last Wish, an organization that empowers the community to combat hate and violence through educational diversity programs and non-violent conflict resolution.

In the past year Elke Kennedy has traveled more than 25,000 miles throughout the United States to tell Sean’s story in order to highlight the need for education and hate crime legislation that may prevent other families from experiencing the loss of a child to hate. In February 2008, she received the Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign and has been recognized for her work by The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) at its New York and Los Angeles media awards.

“This last year has been unbelievably difficult for me and my family without Sean in our lives,” said Elke Kennedy. “We are having the candlelight vigil to honor the memory of my beloved son Sean. We must unite and stand together against hate and violence in our community.”

A candle light vigil will also be held at West Hollywood Park in West Hollywood, Calif., at 6:30 p.m. PST.