On Friday night, dozens of people gathered at a vigil for two black men killed by police this week in Louisiana and Minnesota and five police officers killed in Dallas on Thursday.
Sha’rol Henning with the Black Poets Society said the group held the peaceful event as a call of action and unity for the deaths she referred to as unjust. Those include the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both killed by police and five officers killed in Dallas by a lone gunman.
The event, which was aimed to be a safe haven to express themselves through poetry, music and prayer during a time of emotion and distress.
"We gather to share and to grieve hoping that together we could move forward claiming the value and respect for the lives lost,” said one of the speakers during a prayer.
Saddiq Granger, co-founder of the Black Poets Society, told the crowd he wasn’t a very emotional person but that recent events had turned his sadness into anger
“Seeing what was already a tragedy spark another tragedy and then people use both tragedies to justify hate or to shut down the conversation about the peace was just too much,” said Granger.
During the event, the group also explained what they say is the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement. Henning said is not aimed to be anti-police or against those who are not black.
"Black lives matter is implicitly saying Blacks lives matter too. Like all races, not that black lives matter above any race, because we're all equal," Henning said.
According to Henning, this movement attempts to give the black community the opportunities others have and not to be profiled.
Allan De Laurell who was visiting Waco attended the event because he said he doesn’t want the black community to be treated unfairly.
“I wanted to come out to show my solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and as an expression of mourning for the lives that have been lost this week. Both the black men shot by police and the police officers killed in Dallas,” Laurell said.
The event concluded with those attending holding up their arms, which had “My Life Matters” written on them.
Waco NAACP President Dr. Peaches Henry who discussed wanting the passage of federal anti-profiling law encouraged attendees to go to a discussion with law enforcement that will take place on Sunday at a local church.
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