HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Several members of the Hattiesburg community gathered at Vernon Dahmer Park for a prayer vigil held by Black Lives Matter Mississippi Sunday evening.
“I’m an educator. I don’t know any lesson that has lasted 400 years, but here we are today,” said Educator for HSPD Cathy Clark. “We are still teaching America how to do it right.”
People came to pray and speak up for Jacob Blake and others impacted by social injustices and police brutality.
“Coming together as a community is in solidarity is highly important,” said president of Black Lives Matter Mississippi Reginald Virgil said. “Knowing where we stand with each other. Knowing how we can support each other and know how we can work together. So, this vigil is definitely out that out there in the community and not only just here but throughout Mississippi as well.”
Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times in Kenosha, WS by a police officer. Members of Black Lives Matter Mississippi say it’s time to break the silence on these types of incidents.
“Breaking the silence on truth whether that’s with history, with education. Breaking the silence on how our system is, how our institutions are, and how they’ve always been, and then making sure that loudness echos throughout the communities,” said Virgil. “So, everyone knows, that, ’Hey, we’re here even if you are or not silent, and its time to move together.”
Student Lives Matter also attended the vigil. Faith Jones, a member of the organization says its time for students to take a stand against social injustices.
“Think about how much you’ve been through and think about how much nobody deserves to go through that. You have to build up that courage. If you are not using courage use that anger, use that pain and go out and speak and say what you have to say,” said Jones. “And remember that you aren’t alone because we’re all feeling it. We are all scared to say something, but sometimes we just have to. We have to be heard, we have to make a difference. It has to start somewhere.
At the end of the ceremony, there was a tree planting at the park to honor victims of police brutality.
Voter registration was also available for those who attended the event.