ABS hosts on-campus vigil at WLU
On the evening of Wednesday, October 19, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Association of Black Students held a candlelit vigil to remember those who have died in Haiti and the victims of police brutality in the United States and Canada.
The “Don’t Forget Their Names” vigil, which was held in the Quad on the Laurier Waterloo campus, brought together ABS members, as well as allies and various members of the Laurier community.
Holding lit candles, ABS started the vigil with a moment of silence. The first part of the vigil was dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.
After the names stop trending, we tend to forget that these are lives that are actually lost due to police brutality.
According to BBC, as of October 7, over 400 people have died in Haiti as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
After the disaster hit the Caribbean country on October 4, an estimate 1.4 million people are now in need of food assistance, according to a statement by the government of Haiti, the Haitian National Coordination for Food Security, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nation’s World Food Program.
The second part of the vigil was dedicated to remembering those who have died as a result of police brutality in the United States and Canada.
Members of ABS announced only some of the names of people of colour who were killed by police.
Among those who were named was Brendon Glenn, an unarmed person of colour who was fatally shot on May 5, 2015 by a Los Angeles police officer. Andrew Loku, a 45-year-old father of five who was killed by Toronto police in July 2015, was also among the names announced by ABS.
After Loku’s death, the activist group Black Lives Matter – Toronto went to the Toronto Police Services Board and demanded for both the police chief and mayor to apologize.
“Every single day, black bodies in this city face violence,” said the group’s co-founder, Rodney Diverlus to the National Post.
“Whether it’s carding, whether it’s surveillance, whether it’s physical violence, and whether it’s death. This is life and death for us.”
“The vigil was created because we noticed that after the names stop trending, we tend to forget that these are lives that are actually lost due to police brutality. It almost seems like a never-ending list where it’s hard to keep up and remember their names,” said Abigail Appiahene-Afriyie, vice-president of ABS.
“We also wanted to include the tragedy that occurred in Haiti with Hurricane Matthew. The country has just been through so much absolute devastation and it’s often ignored.”
According to Appiahene-Afriyie, ABS hopes people can remember the names of the victims of Hurricane Matthew and police brutality, even after their stories stop going viral.
“We just wanted to do something to move past all the hashtags. Often times, after things are no long viral, we tend to forget that people are continuously affected by these tragedies.”