The Accidental Vigil

Last Sunday, those of us were involved in organizing a George Floyd vigil went to Burton Park to update people who hadn’t heard that it had been cancelled.

Personally, I was expecting to talk to a few stragglers and then head home. I was expecting to stay at Burton Park for about 15 minutes and then head home.

What happened next, I wasn’t expecting. None of us were.

About 100 people showed up at Burton Park with masks and signs and a desire to show solidarity for our community, our neighbors of color, our neighbors from marginalized communities.

When they all arrived, we got up on some steps and asked how many people knew the event was cancelled. Almost everyone raised their hands.

Almost everyone knew our version of the vigil was cancelled. They showed up anyway on their own.

And it wasn’t just one group. It was dozens of groups and families who all separately made the decision to show up to an event that they knew was cancelled.

From the unexpected came a realization, one that is now plainly obvious in hindsight. What PPAG says or does about a vigil or what the Council says or does about a vigil, doesn’t really matter. What does matter, and what is now apparent, is that the desire for the San Carlos community to make a statement against the scourge of racism exists.

We can organize events or not. We can show bravery or show fear. We can exist in the small town myth or we can realize again what COVID has already shown us; that the anxieties of the world are upon us and are as present in Burton Park as they are in Central Park, as present on Laurel St as they are on the streets of Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles.

San Carlos and all the other small cities in the countless counties across the United States are as much a center of racial tension as any large metropolis. We’ve begun the process of organizing another vigil and we’ll provide updates

The movement and the desire for change is greater than any of us, but we are not powerless. We can make our voices heard in a manner that is both strong and appropriate for San Carlos.

In the meantime, here are some actions you can take:

Call To Action

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