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A woman holds up a Black Lives Matter sign at the Spokane County Courthouse/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS

Hundreds attend Black Lives Matter Vigil in Spokane

By Peter Houston-Hencken

“Black Lives Matter.” “Not One More.” These messages along with many others were written on signs as part of a Black Lives Matter vigil on Saturday.

Hundreds of people of various ages and ethnicities attended the rally outside of the Spokane County Courthouse to listen speeches, form community, and remember the lives of those who died this past week in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas.

Led by Spokane NAACP President Phillip Tyler, the vigil featured a number of speakers including Dean Lynch of the Spokane Human Rights Task Force and Commissioner of African American Affairs, Sandy Williams. Speakers gave their testimonies, experiences and convictions on the recent events.

Phillip Tyler of Spokane NAACP speaks with a protestor at a Black Lives Matter vigil in Spokane/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS
Phillip Tyler of Spokane NAACP speaks with a protestor at a Black Lives Matter vigil in Spokane/Tracy Simmons – SpokaneFAVS

Williams told a story of when she was on the phone with her daughter who was walking home at night. Her daughter found a police officer but was afraid to approach the officer because she was unsure of how he would react to a black woman approaching him at night.

“I’m angry about that,” Williams said. “That I live in a country that my baby can’t get help, because she is afraid of the people who are supposed to help her.”

Williams continued to say that she was most upset by the silence that she heard from her friends and peers after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed.

Others spoke on unity and the actions that should or should not be taken.

“The answer to violence must never be violence,” Lynch said.

Lynch went on to recite a quote from Robert Kennedy about the racial unity in America.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

The rally provided many individuals with the opportunity to share their concerns, stories and calls to action. Tyler also gave the opportunity to a peaceful counter-protester to share his thoughts.

The vigil ended with Tyler leading the attendees in a prayer and a moment of silence for the five police officers that were killed in Dallas.

Tyler emphasized that the rally was not meant to draw lines or divide communities, but bring communities together.

Sandy Williams, editor of The Black Lens, speaks at a Black Lives Matter Vigil - Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS
Sandy Williams, editor of The Black Lens, speaks at a Black Lives Matter Vigil – Tracy Simmons – SpokaneFAVS

“Come together,” Tyler said. “Keep those channels of communication open. Don’t let the fear and divisiveness and this rhetoric that goes online divide us. We won’t get anywhere if we’re a divided society.”

Tyler hoped that this vigil helped dispel the belief that people who support the Black Lives Matter movement cannot also believe that Blue Lives Matter.

The vigil ended with a number of outlets and services making themselves known for people who wish to create change. Local initiatives, the NAACP and social media activism were all promoted to encourage people to take action in their communities.

 

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About Peter Houston-Hencken

Peter Houston-Hencken is a recent graduate of Whitworth University with a degree in journalism. Peter currently works for a background investigation firm but is passionate about freelancing on the weekends. Peter grew up as the son of a Presbyterian pastor. He feels strong in his faith and his commitment to Jesus Christ. He aspires to have a career in journalism and help people get more informed about the events in their communities.

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