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Black Student Alliance hosts candlelight vigil honoring black deaths

Vigil to honor Michael Brown, Emanuel Brown and Tamir Rice

The Black Student Alliance hosted a Candlelight Vigil Monday night in remembrance of Michael Brown, Emanuel Brown and Tamir Rice.

Black Student Alliance members, along with other members of the University community, attended the event to honor the lives of African Americans who have recently passed. The event featured a moment of silence for victims of police brutality.

Following the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Black Student Alliance aimed to bring together community members and raise awareness of social problems, BSA Leadership Development Tri-Chair Martese Johnson said in an email.

“We all have to stand together as one community to communicate to the world that we will not tolerate this pattern of horrendous injustice,” Johnson said. “This Vigil will serve as a way for community members to come together in the mourning of a lost life to injustice, and an expression of our support for one another.”

First-year College student Charles Parrish, who attended the vigil, said it was important in addressing problems with the judicial system.

“In many aspects [the judicial system] is very effective, but in a lot of ways it’s obviously not,” Parrish said. “It’s very important to make sure that everyone — racial minorities as well as humans in general are represented”

First-year College student Christine Magume, who also attended the vigil, said it will have a large impact on the University community.

“[The vigil shows] that people are actually starting to care” Magume said. “That’s very powerful in a sense that we can all unite under one cause but eventually unite as one big cause to help the overall good.”

The vigil was held at the Monroe bus stop — known to some as the “Black Bus Stop or ‘BB,” said BSA General Body Coordinator Kelsey Watkins, a third-year College student, in an email.

“[The stop] has great historical significance to the University's black community,” Watkins said. “While the bus stop has mainly been used for socialization, there is something undeniably political about black students boldly and unapologetically occupying a central space at the university.”

Also honored at the vigil was Emanuel Brown, a university employee who was found dead in New Cabell Hall Nov. 13.

Some University community members, including second-year College student and BSA Political Action Chair Aryn Frazier, have said they are concerned his death did not receive adequate attention.

“It hurts that a man who worked diligently at the University's death was barely acknowledged,” Frazier said in an email. “It's important to remember the people who make our lives at the University run as smoothly as they generally do.”

Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice died from gunshot wounds from a police officer in Cleveland earlier in November.

“It's important to remember that even in the pain felt in the aftermath of the deaths of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, there is still strength and solidarity in our community,” Frazier said.

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