Baltimore faith and community leaders held an outdoor vigil Tuesday night to mark the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was murdered by then Officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
His murder sparked peaceful protests in Baltimore, where thousands of people filled the streets, shouting Floyd’s last words: “I can’t breathe.”
The vigil took place at Bishop Square Park, at University Parkway and Charles Street in front of what was once the Confederate Women's Monument.
Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway Sr from the Union Baptist Church presided. He was joined by leaders of various religious backgrounds.
“Much of my life's journey has had as bookends, public executions,” Hathaway said. He was a child when 14 year old Emmett Till was lynched by white men in 1955.
Hathaway said the vigil was a space not only to mourn, but also to look forward. He thought about what sort of world his three grandchildren, and future generations, would grow up in.
“My hope is that we will not have those kinds of atrocious acts that jar your spirit,” he said.
Rev. Ramelle McCall, the rector of Holy Trinity Church in West Baltimore, lamented the burden that people of color have in educating others about racism.
“I'm tired of having to explain it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. I'm tired of it,” he said.
Rabbi Daniel Burg recalled feeling grateful on April 20, when Derek Chauvin was found guilty.
He said that’s not a date he usually feels good about. It’s his birthday, but it’s also the birthday of Adolf Hitler, the date of the Columbine shooting, the day after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore in 2015.
As grateful as he was for Chauvin’s conviction, Burg said the country has a long way to go.
“I realized that for every Derek Chauvin, there are hundreds, thousands of names of those whose acts of hateful violence have gone unanswered by the halls of justice,” Burg said.
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