OPINION

Vigil to mark anniversary of George Floyd's death

Finger Lakes Justice Partnership

A group of Yates County residents is holding a vigil at 7 p.m. May 29  to recognize the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. The vigil will be held on the courthouse lawn at 226 Main Street in Penn Yan.  All are welcome to come together in this opportunity for communal grief and reflection.

The late George Floyd

Organizers of the vigil affirm that Mr. Floyd’s life, and the lives of others lost to racial violence, mattered. Participants will pay respect to the many individuals, families and communities that have been affected by racially-driven trauma over the past 12 months.  In recognition that injustice cannot endure where those of goodwill keep their eyes, minds, and hearts open to inequity, organizers hope to assert to all affected by such trauma that Yates County sees you (#YatesSeesYou).

Mr. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring the pleas of bystanders to recognize and alleviate his distress.  His death ignited a summer of protest across the country, as well as a wave of national soul-searching into the state of American race relations.  Though Mr. Floyd’s killer was found guilty of murder earlier this year, the structures underlying his death continue to inflict trauma, and must be acknowledged in every quarter of American life.

The vigil is being organized by an independent committee of concerned citizens using the working name Finger Lakes Justice Partnership.  Other local justice-oriented groups standing in solidarity with this event include the Penn Yan Action Coalition, Keuka Compass, Yates County Democratic Committee, and Yates Progressives.  Organizers hope that this event will spur further local connections and conversations on the nation’s relationship with race, violence, and healing.

Participants are asked to wear masks and observe social distancing, regardless of their vaccination status. If they wish, they may bring their own candles to light at dusk.