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An American girl in Paris, remembered. This is what her mom wants the world to know.

Nohemi Gonzalez was "a Latina girl that strived to get ahead ... and who achieved many of her dreams."

An American girl in Paris, remembered. This is what her mom wants the world to know.

Any loss of life is a tragedy. But it hurts all the more to see a young person cut down with such a promising future ahead of her.

Students and mourners attend a vigil for Nohemi Gonzalez on Nov. 15 in Long Beach, California. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.


On the evening of Nov. 13, Nohemi Gonzalez was out with three friends at La Belle Equipe, a bistro and wine bar in north-central Paris.

The 23-year-old was studying abroad in Paris as part of her bachelor's degree in industrial design at California State University, Long Beach. She was enjoying her time in the city — her first time out of the United States — and had visited historic sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Cathedral of Notre Dame, according to her mother.

"She had a lot of dreams," Jose Hernandez, a man identified as her stepfather, told the Los Angeles Times. He said that studying in Paris "was one of them."

Her life was cut short at the bistro that night.

Gunmen in a black vehicle opened fire on people sitting on the bistro's terrace, killing 19 people — including Nohemi — and critically wounding nine others, part of a horrific terrorist attack that has jarred France and people around the globe.

Her mother remembers her as someone striving for success.

Although Nohemi's mother, Beatriz Gonzalez, looked emotionally exhausted in an interview published by the Spanish-language news outlet Univision on Nov. 15, she found inspiring words to describe her daughter.

Stepfather Jose Hernandez and mother Beatriz weep during a vigil for Nohemi. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.

When asked how she wanted her Nohemi to be remembered, Beatriz answered, "as a Latina girl that strived to get ahead ... and who achieved many of her dreams."

Nohemi was born in the U.S., according to her mother, but her family came to California from Guanajuato, a state in central Mexico.

"I think the people who did this don't have any conscience," she told Univision. "Because of how many families they hurt."

Nohemi was proud of her immigrant heritage.

A class assignment obtained by the Los Angeles Times gives us a window into how Nohemi envisioned herself.

"I am Mexican American and I also happen to be first generation born in the United States. I grew up in Whittier and had a very hard working mother that raised me to be extremely independent. If I had to describe myself in a few words I would say I am very high spirited, clean, orderly and self driven."

Professors in the design department at Cal State Long Beach lauded her academic performance. She was "a very gifted student," Martin Herman, the department's chairman, told the Los Angeles Times.

Photo by David McNew/AFP/Getty Images.

Beyond her academic performance, she just seemed like a great person.

"Nohemi was an absolute delight," said David Teubner, a professor of design at Cal State Long Beach. "She was funny and warm and such a kind person.... She was involved in everything."

Her friends and family won't let her memory fade away.

Nohemi's fellow students and community members gathered on Nov. 15 at Cal State Long Beach for a vigil to commemorate her life.

Students and mourners hold candles at the vigil. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said she was an "exceptional young woman who worked hard and contributed greatly to [the] community."


Nohemi's cousin, Ellie Gonzalez, captured the raw emotion — and confusion — that many who knew her must be feeling now.

"This is still a really big shock. I don't believe it's real, that this happened," she said. "I'm going to miss her and I love her so much."
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Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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via Pixabay

As people get older, social isolation and loneliness become serious problems. Many find themselves living alone for the first time after the death of a spouse. It's also difficult for older people to maintain friendships when people they've known for years become ill or pass away.

Census Bureau figures say that almost a quarter of men and nearly 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone.

But loneliness doesn't just affect those who reside by themselves. People can feel lonely when there is a discrepancy between their desired and actual relationships. To put it simply, when it comes to having a healthy social life, quality is just as important as quantity.

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