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Austinites gather at Huston-Tillotson University for a candle light vigil held by AJC. (Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

On a gloomy Thursday evening, Austin Justice Coalition hosted a vigil to honor the lives of those killed by law enforcement. The event came just two days after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter for the death of George Floyd last May and on the eve of the one year anniversary of Mike Ramos' death.

Both names were catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement that sparked nationwide protests. More recently other police killings—Alex Gonzales in Austin, Adam Toledo in Chicago and Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota—have made news. The vigil brought people together to remember all lives lost at the hands of police.



(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Founder and Executive Director of AJC Chas Moore, with an American sign language interpreter, started the vigil by drawing attention to the definitively fewer amount of people in attendance versus the demonstrations last summer that saw thousands gather, including at the same location.

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

In stark contrast to demonstrations held in 2020, only around 100 people gathered at Huston-Tillotson Thursday evening.

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Many in the small crowd held police tape passed out by one of the volunteers of the event, Ernest, who declined to reveal his last name.

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Some attendees held picture frames depicting loved ones lost to police violence, including Yasmine Smith, director of justice and advocacy at Austin Area Urban League.

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

The first speaker of the evening was Colette Pierce Burnette, the president of Huston-Tillotson University. She spoke of the recent conviction of Derek Chauvin saying, "We can breathe, but not a sight of relief yet."

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Attendees showed up with their families to listen to speakers and participate in the vigil.

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Speaker Korretta Brown lights white candles in honor of loved ones who have been killed by police violence.

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

The candles were lined up at the base of the speakers' podium throughout the vigil.

Moore ended the vigil by encouraging attendees to march to the Zaragoza Rec Center to early vote in the local election.

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