SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield NAACP Youth Committee is hosting a virtual vigil on July 4th to honor black lives lost to police brutality and also spark new conversations on the topic to bring about change.
Group president Dorian Hunter told News Center 7′s Jenna Lawson that they picked Independence Day for the event to make a statement.
He said many people in the African American community have shied away from the holiday because while on that date in 1776, the United States was deemed a ‘free’ country, African Americans still were not.
Hunter said the ‘American experience’ is not always the same for citizens of color compared to white citizens – and while the protests the nation has seen over the last month were good for getting people’s attention, Hunter says it’s time to shift the focus to education.
“Instead of practicing the acts of consumerism and buying all these different things, like fireworks, food,” he said. “We decided to take it upon ourselves to provide educational opportunities for people of all backgrounds to learn more about this topic.”
The vigil will feature prominent guest speakers like a team from National Louis University in Florida, including Dr. Patricia Dixon, doctoral candidates Asia Wardlaw and Rhonda Lloyd, as well as Wittenberg University’s Dr. Julius Bailey.
The panel will offer perspectives about how police brutality affects the African American community on psychological and public policy levels.
Those who join in online will be able to ask questions and get input from the guest speakers.
“The best way we can really honor the black lives that have been lost to police brutality is developing ways we can change the issue,” Hunter said.
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