SG holds vigil honoring An’Twan Gilmore
The candlelit ceremony honored Gilmore, who was killed by an officer three weeks ago
Student Government hosted a candlelight vigil in front of the Mary Graydon Center in honor of An’Twan Gilmore, a 27-year-old D.C. resident who was killed by police three weeks ago.
The Wednesday night vigil also served as a call to action from the AU community. SG President Chyna Brodie started the vigil by discussing Gilmore and the violence faced by the Black community at the hands of law enforcement every day.
Gilmore was sleeping in his car when he was approached by police officers early morning on Aug. 25. After attempting to wake him up, Gilmore drove his car forward slightly, prompting officers to tell him to stop. When the car started moving forward again, D.C. police officer Enis Jevric fired 10 gunshots into his window, killing Gilmore.
Police officials released video camera footage of the shooting; however, a ballistic shield used by police made it difficult to see exactly what happened.
“What I would like everyone to know is that even within our slumber, Black people do not receive human decency,” Brodie said in the speech. “We do not get the opportunity to explain within situations such as this. Ultimately, we are guilty until proven innocent.”
Reverend Bryant Oskvig, who serves as the University chaplain, followed Brodie by asking the crowd to join him in a prayer.
“We pray for his family and friends who know an empty space at a table, in conversations, in text messages, in jokes, in hugs, in laughter and in holidays,” he said. “That is a hole that can not be filled.”
As for action steps, Brodie said that students must look out for their Black and brown friends and family, and educate themselves on how to be an active ally. She said that the conversations regarding allyship are vital, and a discussion she would welcome with her peers.
At the end of the vigil, Brodie called upon the crowd to bring forward the white roses made available at the start, and place them at the foot of the picture of Gilmore.
Brodie said that students should reach out to Ward 3 councilwoman Mary Cheh, who is overseeing the case, and demand swift action in the investigation before the case gets closed.
In a statement to The Washington Post, the family of Gilmore asked for accountability and justice for Gilmore.
“Before shooting, the police did not ask if An’Twan was okay. They did not ask if he was alright,” Brodie said. “They only thought to shoot.”