Seton Hall’s women’s basketball team, along with members of Seton Hall’s Black Caucus, will host a vigil on the University Green Friday to honor of Breonna Taylor and several other Black men and women who have been killed by police.
This summer mass protests against police brutality after the deaths of several Black Americans took place across the country including Taylor and George Floyd, whose names have since become rallying cries at protests against racial injustice.
The vigil, which begins at 6:30 p.m., comes after a Kentucky grand jury did not issue any indictments directly related to Taylor’s death at the hands of Louisville police last month, opting instead to charge only one officer with “wanton endangerment” for shooting into the home of one of Taylor’s neighbors, sparking nationwide protests and outrage.
The vigil will include discussion, prayer, speeches and performances in honor of Taylor and other Black victims of police brutality, according to Black Student Union President Thanelie Bien-Aime.
“[The vigil] is open to the entire campus community, so we hope many people will come out to listen, discuss and honor those we’ve lost,” Bien-Aime said.
The event was conceived at the end of one of the women’s basketball team’s practices, said Desiree Elmore, who proposed the idea of the vigil in light of the recent court settlement Taylor’s family received. Elmore’s coaches and teammates supported the idea wholeheartedly.
Elmore has since worked closely with women’s basketball Director of Basketball Operations Shaaliyah Lyons and members of the Black Caucus to organize the event.
Elmore said because of the event’s mix of in-person and Zoom attendees, she wants to create a welcoming atmosphere. She said that they plan to open the event with a rendition of The Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice And Sing," a symbol of the struggle and enduring hope of black people in the U.S., and a set of icebreakers. Following the anthem will be a set of performances and speeches by members of the Black Caucus, Elmore and other participants.
The vigil will continue the Black Caucus’ “Project Amplify,” a series of events aimed at promoting racial justice.
“I’m a little nervous because this is my first time hosting an event,” Elmore said. “With a topic like this, it’s very touchy and sensitive. My Dad, who is a cop, is driving down from Connecticut for the event, and I know there’s a lot of people supporting it so that helps ease the nerves.”
Daniel O’Connor can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @itsDanOConnor.
Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.