Sunday night as the sun was beginning to set, people gathered at the Lagoon in Gallows Bay and stood in silence for eight minutes and 45 seconds to mirror the time then-Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck two weeks ago.
Several people in the crowd of 50 to 60 adults and children held signs, and one large sign in the front proclaimed, “Silence kills.” After the silence, candles were lit and several people spoke. They spoke passionately about the tragedy of Floyd, whose death while in police custody set off protests and demonstrations across the country and around the world. The speakers discussed possible actions to remedy racism.
Then Kiki and the Fire Dancers performed to soothing music as dusk settled in.
“The event was to show solidarity with others in the territory. … This was a fire of healing,” Chenzira Davis-Kahina, director of the University of Virgin Islands Cultural Center, said.
Speaking in her spirited way, Davis-Kahina said people are quick to say they want peace, but there is a lot of work to overcome racism and everyone must do their part.
Jena Fuentes organized the event. Several individuals helped and spoke at the event including Davis-Kahina, Diana Sragosa-Wison, Zydmarie Sanes, Maria Stiles, Lamarr Jacobs and Khnuma Simmonds.