YWCA Tulsa Holds Ferguson Vigil For Healing

Tuesday, November 25th 2014, 5:20 pm
By: News On 6

With tempers boiling over in Ferguson, passions are flaring across the country; but community leaders in Tulsa asked the community to channel those emotions toward ending the violence.

In a place that couldn't have a more fitting name, people gathered at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park for a Vigil for Healing.

In less than 24 hours, the YWCA of Tulsa got people of all ages and races to come and promote healing and solidarity.

Close to 400 miles away from Ferguson, the group took the opportunity to grieve together in Tulsa; many still shaken by the decision to not indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

11/25/2014 Related Story: Fires, Vandalism, Looting Follow Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson

"It is so distressful for me as a grandparent because I worry about the lives that they'll have to live, the things that they'll have to encounter," participant Kerri Fatihah said.

She and her daughter-in-law made sure the children were there to witness the vigil, even if their young minds might not fully understand.

"What we teach our children is that they love each other, that we're all the same, that everybody can succeed," Fatihah said.

In front of a bronze statue with the word “hostility” on it is where the group was sending their message; that message is of the word on the other side of that same statue, “hope.”

"The conversations between races and cultures kind of diminished over the last couple days, people are very pigeonholed in their biases because of this and it's kind of sad, it really is," Tulsa resident, Aaron Jordan said.

Mana Tahaie with YWCA Tulsa said she knew it had to do something as soon as the announcement came down that Officer Wilson wouldn't be indicted.

"So we wanted to be sure that today, the day after this event, while people were still wrestling with a lot of those emotions, that they had a place to put it and that we could come together and create that opportunity for them,” Tahaie said.

There were prayers and poetry readings - but most importantly for Fatihah - an opportunity for her grandchildren to learn a valuable lesson.

"To be those people who will speak up, who will stand up and who will pursue justice and equality amongst themselves as cousins and family and in the community as well," she said.

Organizers made sure to let the crowd know before the vigil began that there were guidelines.

They allowed no signs, no verbal abuse and asked to simply remember the reason they were there.