A Howard University student died this past week. Early on Sunday morning on October 29th, Kyle Brookens committed suicide at the age of 21 years old.

Kyle was a senior Engineering major at Howard. A resident of Plainfield, New Jersey for most of his life, Kyle relocated to Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2014. It was then when he began his undergraduate studies at Howard University.

During his Freshman year, Kyle established himself into a leadership position at the Drew Hall all boys dormitory at Howard. Kyle earned the role of Resident Assistant after just one semester in school, a feat that is very rarely accomplished for students who have less than a year of school completed.

“Kyle was a very likable and truthful person. He didn’t cut corners or use short cuts with you. He told you how it was. Moreover, he was truly helpful. If he had it, you had it. Truly a gem. In our Economic Development class we had together where we would always joke about what Dr. Blank was wearing today or what should be the response to the way we view circumstances of black people,” said Antravious Brown, one of Kyle’s former floor residents.

Kyle was a person that was involved in more than just his studies. Kyle was a varsity wrestler at Plainfield High, and his dedication to the sport earned him recognition on the sports site called MaxPreps. Friends of Kyle were shocked to hear about his untimely death, and they were even more shocked of the nature.

“Howard is grieving. Kyle was not just a student or classmate at Howard. Everyone who knew him personally couldn’t say anything negative about him. That’s the reason why the students and administration have responded the way that we have,” said Brown.

Howard University students held a vigil at Howard University’s Louis C. Stokes Health Sciences Library on Nov. 1, 2017 at 6 p.m. The flyer for the vigil encouraged students to bring candles, balloons, and words of condolence.

“Being at Howard in itself can be mentally draining, However, I definitely feel we need more staff members in the counseling suite, and it definitely should be more advertised,” said Ahmed Uthman, part of the resident assistant staff at Howard.

“The black community is made to feel that we have to always be perfect, that there isn’t room for error simply because of the oppressed system, but we have to encourage our love ones and everyone that it’s okay. That’s the way we improve ourselves.”

“We should put our energy towards prayer and keep Kyle’s family in mind at this time,” said Kevin Thompson, a Howard University senior and Freshman year roommate and friend to Kyle.

Howard University has resources for those who feel like suicide is the best option. One is called the Suicide Prevention Action Group, which seeks to increase help seeking behavior, to decrease suicidal behavior, and decrease stigma associated with students seeking mental health treatment.

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