SEATTLE -- A vigil for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile ended peacefully in Westlake Park Wednesday night, despite police and even the organizer preparing for the potential of a march.
At its height, 75 people came to light candles and listen. Chants periodically rang out as people were invited onto the park stage to share their thoughts on the shooting deaths of Sterling by police in Baton Rouge, La., and Castile by an officer in Minnesota.
The people Q13 News spoke with said enough is enough; they said they’re scared for their lives and the lives of their black friends. They used the stage to ask for change across the country.
“We are not going to stay quiet. We see what’s happening. We stand with them. We cry with them. And we’re in solidarity,” said organizer Hajir Al-Turfy.
She said she was surprised at the traction the event received. She told Q13 News it started with just her friends on Facebook and quickly grew from there. The event attracted people from outside the invite; Kayla Washington was walking home from the gym and stopped when she saw the crowd.
“I'm hoping people see that all races support African Americans,” Washington said. “I think that’s very important for people to understand, that just because you’re not African American you don’t understand the situation; it doesn’t mean you can’t relate to it.”
Al-Turfy started the event by telling Q13 News that should the vigil become a protest or a march, she wouldn’t try to stop it. However, she said she was happy that things ended peacefully. A strong police presence arrived on scene just before the vigil, but grew lighter throughout the event.