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Sunday night’s candlelight vigil and memorial

On June 5th an anonymous call appeared on various media sites calling for the creation of vigils across the country memorializing the “dozen more lives (that) have been taken by state and vigilante violence in the struggle for Black freedom.” The next day on June 6th, a similar post specific to the Seattle area was seen on social media calling for people to bring candles and memorials for a vigil planned on 11th and Pine for Sunday June 7th.

For the last 8 days, 11th and Pine has been the locus of a protest movement turned social uprising in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officers. The Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, while often the center of large protest movements, has seen an unprecedented amount of police action and protests in the last 8 days. 11th and Pine – which is a block from the Seattle Police Department’s East precinct – is where many of the most intense street clashes have taken place.

On Sunday near 8pm, people began to assemble a makeshift memorial near the 11th and Pine intersection across from the old Value Village. This street has been home to a medic station, free food vendors, and a mobile stage for as long as the demonstrations have been raging. A large black banner reading “Mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living” along with the names of about 15 people who have been killed by police or suspected white supremacists was hung on the plywood covering the street. A pegboard holding flowers and the images of those being memorialized was placed below the banner. Participants placed candles and said tributes as others handed out small pamphlets with information about the vigil.

This scene was recreated in several other cities across the country, vigils at “sundown” on Sunday were reported in Olympia, WA; Williams, OR and Oakland CA.

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