Twin Falls organizers plan peaceful vigil to honor George Floyd, black Americans lost
to mourn the death of George Floyd and black Americans is planned to take place Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. at the Twin Falls City Park.
The vigil is organized by the Culture For Change Foundation, and is not a protest, demonstration or rally. The peaceful event was planned in coalition with leaders and communities of color in Twin Falls. There will be speakers followed by a 9-minute moment of silence in honor of George Floyd.
Winnie Mwende Christensen, the organizer behind the event and founder of Culture For Change Foundation, says the killing of George Floyd was a tragedy that touched the lives of everyone and this peaceful vigil will hopefully give the community an outlet to heal and mourn together.
"This is solely about going through the stages of grief, which is first you get angry and, then you get mad, then you get sad and now you're trying to heal and this is a place to heal," Christensen says. "It might take a little longer to heal and get to that place."
Christensen said Twin Falls City Council members and local law enforcement have been invited to the vigil. Those who attend are asked to honor social distancing and wear face masks upon arrival to protect public health during the pandemic.
A representative with the Twin Falls Police Department says Chief Craig Kingsbury plans to attend. He told KMVT he wants to let the public know the police department looks forward to honoring Floyd and will be there in attendance in that capacity, not as enforcement.
Christensen stresses the vigil is a peaceful ceremony, and ask attendees who would act in a manner that contradicts that description to not attend.
"If you're going to use this moment to come and bring violence and take away from the main focus, that is disrespectful to the dead," Christensen says. "It's also disrespectful to the families that we are trying to support."
Saving Barini is a co-organizer of the vigil planned in Twin Falls.
"I believe there will be an opening and closing prayer, and there will be an opportunity for people to write messages of hope, inspiration, or even just of mourning on," Barini says. "We're really trying to focus on mourning and celebrating the loss of life."
Christensen and Barini are aware of the report of two teenagers being arrested in Jerome for allegedly attempting to encourage a riot, and said they're stressing this event is peaceful. And that unfortunately, that behavior has sometimes overshadowed the overall message of events like this.
"In stories like these, we're hearing about the things that are going wrong," Barini says. "At the end of the day, that is because there has been life that has been lost. I think that the community can take away from this that we're determined to make sure that life is honored. Not only when it's gone, but that that life is honored and respected before it's gone."
"The reason we are meeting is to stand in solidarity for what's right," Christensen says. "Not to be stand-bys, but to be together for what's good."