Every life equally valuable
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
The March. 10 Daily Reflector article “Vigil honors lives lost to violence” was disturbing for many reasons. A needless death, whether by gun violence, corporate greed or racial animus is disturbing by definition. The fact that no community members, not even members of the deceased family, were present should tell the organizers — all with some present or former connection to law enforcement — that their efforts are, at best, misguided and, at worst, designed to divert and/or discourage any real analysis of why people of all races resort to violence.
The Citizens United Against Violence has been holding candlelight vigils for more than a decade. Has the violence decreased? No. In fact, there were more murders in Greenville in 2018 than in 2017, and the numbers for 2019 are already more alarming. When former GPD Capt. Hardy said the two teenagers killed on Feb. 23 were not honored at the vigil because they “died under questionable circumstances and may have been participants in activities that resulted in their deaths,” this statement becomes part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
What makes the lives of 15-year-old Daceion Sanders and 18-year-old Blaise Joshua Okale-Weeks any less valuable? The families of both the deceased and the alleged shooters are grieving the wasted lives. The Coalition Against Racism decries the prominence given by the media to the horror and sorrow without exploring the root causes of violence. We appreciate the coverage by Tyler Stocks because we can, at least, use the facts to expose the hypocrisy of minimizing, dressing up and soothing down the feelings, hopes and demands of oppressed people of color. We look forward to the day when those in power are more concerned with the denial of justice than the disruption of business as usual.
Dedan Waciuri and Don Cavellini
Coalition Against Racism
Note: The Greenville Police Department reports that five homicides occurred in the city in 2018; four occurred in 2017.