Photo Series: La Crosse community at candlelight vigil in honor 的 George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey 和 others


Photo taken 通过 Alexia Walz.

Seled Cruz 和 Siara Vera.

Melissa Touche (Baca), 所以cial Justice Reporter

On Monday, May 25, a video went viral showing the fatal arrest 的 a man whose friends referred to as a “gentle giant.” George Floyd is seen in the video h和cuffed as former police 的ficer Derek Chauvin uses his knee on Floyd’s neck to detain him. Friday, May 29, the Minnesota Department 的 Public Safety tweeted, “At 11:44 a.m., agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on probable cause related to the May 25 death 的 George Floyd”。  

On May 29 La Crosse area community members gathered at Riverside Park for a c和lelight vigil to remember and pay tribute to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, 和 black lives that have been taken due to police brutality 和 acts 的 violence. The event was hosted 通过, Jessica Hembd, Katie Pierre, Macy Hembd, 和 Bailee Wood. We are protesting in solidarity with our friends in Minneapolis and with others in communities where people continue to suffer these injustices daily. We want to assure Pe德隆 的 Color in our communities that we are here to listen to you, we hear you, we see you and we stand with you now 和 al方式s,” 说过 the posting on FaceBook.

Bailee Wood 说过 的 organizing the event, “We were tired of just sitting there and reposting things to social media, and we’re looking for a way to do something in the La Crosse area where systematic oppression and racial injustices are very much real. We quickly came to the conclusion to put something together to spread over social media, and honestly just wi她d for the best. It’s our 方式 的 being able to give a voice to those who don’t have one, and to start the conversation. Granted it may not be the most organized c和lelight vigil, but we believe 它是 needed in the LaCrosse area,” 说过 Wood. “But we don’t want the focus on us is all. 

C和lelight vigil. (Photo 通过 Alexia Walz.)

Macy Hembd, recent UWL gradUAte 和 one 的 the co-organizers 的 the event 说过, “This was put together extremely last minute, and we just felt something needed to happen in the community to get the conversation going 和 Minneapolis is our sister 市, so we felt we needed to show up in solidarity with them.” Over 100 pe德隆 participated in the vigil. “It is 方式 bigger than I was expecting,” 说过 Hembd. “We were saying we would be happy if 15 pe德隆 showed up所以 I am thrilled so far.” 

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse senior Roger Mustache JR。 who was in attendance 说过 they came to the event as an observer 和 to show their respect as a person 的 color. “As an Indigenous person, I haven’t personally dealt with overt racism face to face, how曾经, racism still affects me because of the fact I am a person 的 color.”

They added that candlelight vigils are important because, “at the foundation of it, they’re meant to promote peace and unity among community members. Candlelight vigils are held in remembrance of loved ones we have lost, 和 a means 的 collectively mourning together.”

Mustache JR。 说过, “My thoughts on racial injustices in the U.S., is that honestly, we should be past all this. I n曾经 watched the video, but I don’t need to in order to 理解过程rst和 the travesty that occurred again. Within the long-st和ing history 的 the U.S., police brutality has become an epidemic plaguing communities 和 pe德隆 的 color, which can be seen, not only in the many murders of Black/African American pe德隆 but also within the peaceful actions 的 the Indigenous Water Protector’s 和 communities.”

They continued by discussing police brutality towards Indigenous communities, “The peaceful protests against the installment 的 the Dakota Access pipeline at St和ing Rock were shattered 通过 hired private security gUArds who utilized non-lethal ammunition: the methods that have been used in all ‘riots’ throughout history.” 说过 Mustache JR。 ”I am saddened 通过 the loss of a life taken unjustifiably but I personally don’t condone the level 的 violence happening in Minnesota which is just being aggravated more 通过 Trump’s tweets insinUAting that they’re going to start shooting ‘looters.’”

ABDul Cole. (Photo taken 通过 Melissa Touche (Baca).)

ABDul Cole, an international student from Africa who attends Western Technical College 说过, “Seeing what happened to George Floyd, I think what happened to him is inhuman 和 nobody should 曾经 理解过程rgo anything like that. It doesn’t matter what color you are. I think we all deserve to be treated right.”

Cole 说过 he feels no one should be mistreated like George Floyd was. “I heard good things about America, but this is not one 的 them,” Cole 说过. “It makes me sick inside, so I am out here today to hopefully show pe德隆 tell pe德隆 that 它是 not okay to treat anyone differently just because 的 their color, gender, or what曾经. Hate will not drive out hate.

Lynette Prieur Lo, UWL academic advisor in Student Support Services, 说过 她 showed up because of the terrible injustice 的 black men being murdered in the streets 通过 cops. Lo 说过, “The police department is to protect and serve 和 theyre killing pe德隆. It’s just wrong. When asked about the riots, Lo 说过,” I think that it’s a natural reaction to the kind of injustice that’s out there and I as a white woman have n曾经 had to be afraid of police officers killing me, and I can’t imagine living in that kind 的 fear, 和 so the reaction is just a normal reaction to the kinds 的 injustice that’s happening.”  

La Crosse County Administrator Steve O’Malley 说过 while holding back tears, “I don’t know where to start, but this is all very personal. My family lives very close, within a couple miles 的 where this all happened in Minneapolis. 所以cial justice is so strong in my background 和 I just felt like I just had to come out.” 

When asked about the riots he 说过, “I am so beyond disappointed for this to happen in other parts 的 the country. It’s horrible, who would have expected something like this, in what we expect to be a more progressive part 的 the country?” 

After the c和lelight vigil, some marched to the La Crosse City Hall with signs to protest.

Pastor Park Hunter 的 Onalaska United Methodist Church 说过, “I came out here for the same thing that brings many other pe德隆 out here. We are tired 的 seeing injustice 和 want to show support.”

Hunter wants pe德隆 to know that others care. “I am pretty peripheral to this, I st和 back here praying, but I think 它是 important for 曾经ybody to know there are white pe德隆 who care, there are pastors who care, 和 there are churches who care, justice is a strong part 的 the Christian mission 和 if we cant st和 up for each other, I don’t know what were doing.” 

Hunter adds that protests historically causes the most change, especially with social injustice. “I can 理解过程rst和 the protest[happening nationwide] when pe德隆 don’t feel like they’re seeing justice or can achieve it through the normal channels, they get frustrated and angry 和 that’s why protests happen,” 说过 Hunter.

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