The people of Oxford came together Saturday, July 16 to mourn the fallen and to peacefully protest the recent shootings in the U.S.
Rachel Johnson and Latoya Faulk created the candlelight vigil on Facebook and invited roughly 900 people. Approximately 400 members of the community showed up.
“Part of this is seeing you have a lot of allies,” said Johnson. “It’s seeing you have a huge community who is invested in the same problems. We hope people met others that have similar goals and concerns and they’ll maintain those connections.”
Members of the community read the names of slain victims and their short biographies. Pastor Christopher Diggs of Burns-Belfry United Methodist Church and Minister Gail Stratton of Unitarian Universalist offered words of love and hope to the vigil attendees. University of Mississippi director of the MFA program in creative writing and author of ROPES, Derrick Harriell, and recent MFA graduate Virginia Henry read poems. Effie Burt lead the crowd in songs.
“We did not expect this turnout,” said Faulk. “The fact that so many people came speaks volumes. I’ve had many people come up to me and said we needed this. I’m really just overwhelmed with joy.”
Watch my video coverage of the peaceful protest below.