Black Lives Matter Vigil Remembers Lives Lost to Police Brutality

Accompanied by Andover’s Drumline and chanting Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talm ‘Bout” with high spirits, the Andover community came together on Sunday for a Black Lives Matter Vigil to commemorate the African-American  lives lost to police brutality.

The march was led by Drumline and Blue Key Heads Auguste White ’17 and Brandon Barros ’17 along with Af-Lat Am board members JayShawn Fuller ’17 and Emily Ndiokho ’18, and CAMD Director LaShawn Springer. The march started at the steps of Paresky Commons and ended at Cochran Chapel.

At the culmination of the march, participants entered the chapel for a reading of the names of the black lives lost to the police accompanied a moment of silence for each victim, a spoken word poetry performance by Justice Robinson ’18, and a speech given by Keely Aouga ’19 and Ava Stills ’19 on responsible allyship with marginalized communities.

“I hope the performance made people think about the historical context of why black lives matter and how they are being threatened… I think Andover students can take the time and listen and that in itself is an action towards being a better activist or ally,” said Robinson in an interview with The Phillipian.

The vigil was planned as one of a variety of events organized by Andover’s Afro-Latino-American Society (Af-Lat-Am), to observe Black History Month.

Lopez was particularly affected by the moment of silence held to commemorate the lives lost to police brutality.

“My favorite part was the moment of silence because it gave me time to reflect and realize how much more work we have to do for equality but it was beautiful being in the chapel and seeing so many people supporting the cause,” Lopez continued.

Keely Aouga ’19, an Af-Lat Am board member, believes that the vigil was a good opportunity for building community across a diverse range of identities in the Andover community.

“With the election, it’s been really hard for people of color, or just any groups of marginalized people to feel like they matter or feel like they belong, and coming here is like seeing all these people that have come in support and…you know that you’re not alone and that you do matter,” said Aouga on the vigil’s relevance to current events.

Abigail Ndikum ’20 was inspired to attend the event as a way to express the unacceptability of current societal injustices, and emphasize the necessity of action in response to injustice.

“They said almost 250 names of those that have been killed or oppressed, basically, and it should never be that high, that’s not fair. So I think people should take away that we need to make a difference, if we see something wrong we have to make a change, we have to speak out. Speaking out is really important,” Ndikum said.