Martin Luther King Park was the scene Wednesday evening of a vigil held in honor of two recent victims of police violence. Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by officers in Kenosha Wisconsin in August, while video of the March death of Daniel Prude in Rochester recently went viral. Both incidents have sparked protests in their respective cities.
On this evening, social justice group Allies for Black Justice is bringing people together to grieve and express their feelings through speech or song, said A.B.J. Co-Founder Dianne Britain.
“There’s so much anger and fight that we’re constantly doing,” she said. “And every now and then, just to be able to sit down and be able to cry about it, be angry about it. Have that personal connection that we all have for it and then just kind of have that moment so we’re stronger tomorrow and can fight more.”
Event speaker De’Jon Hall was in Rochester over the weekend, enduring tear gas while participating in the protest over what Hall called the cover up of Prude’s death. He sees similarities in how law enforcement in Buffalo and Rochester treat Brown and Black people.
“The problem is,” he said. “This nation has viewed policing in a way, and enabled it in a way that has been harmful to Black and Brown folks across the board. It’s true in Rochester and true in Buffalo, so yes, what happens there has bearing here, just as what happens in Portland, Minneapolis, Oakland, and D.C. and any other city has bearing around this country. So long as there is injustice anywhere, there’s a threat to justice everywhere.”
Fighting through anger, Hall says in moments of tragedy, it is imperative for citizens to continue to have their voices heard.