George Floyd vigil in Edmonds attracts dozens seeking an end to police violence

“Your presence tonight…is a great deal of love embodied,” Pastor Ann Jacob said.

Dozens of people attended a “stop the hate” vigil at Edmonds United Methodist Church Wednesday night, standing in solidarity for the George Floyd family.

Floyd, a Black man, died May 25, 2020, after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for almost 10 minutes, causing national and worldwide protests. Chauvin was found guilty of both murder and manslaughter April 20 and will be sentenced sometime next month.

With the theme, “where’s there’s people, there’s power,” the vigil was held outdoors on church grounds with social distancing in effect, and included outdoor activities based on understanding and ending racism.

Edmonds United Methodist Pastor Jenny Smith attended the vigil with daughter Isabella and son Wesley.

After opening the vigil with the song We Shall Overcome, Edmonds United Methodist Church Pastor Ann Jacob invited those in attendance to share their feelings by leaving comment on one or all of three tables, which were labeled “lamenting,” “with longing I hope to forgive” and “I commit to.”

The enthusiastic crowd, while maintaining a safe distance, went from table to table and wrote down their thoughts and feelings about systemic racism, police reform, healing hearts and pledging to work on forgiving those who harm innocent lives. On the “commit to” board, most said they will take a public stand for Black lives and all oppressed people.

A comment left at one of the tables.

“I’m deeply grateful to each of you showing up today, because what it shows me is safety, it shows me a marker of bravery, it shows me the courage to say no more violence, no more hate,” Jacob said. “So, I hope you know that your presence tonight, your commitment to showing up, is a great deal of love embodied.”

Jacob was one of four local church representatives who spoke Wednesday evening, denouncing the events that happened to George Floyd and countless others in cities and states all over America.

Rachel Maxwell of the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation shared a poem by Ross Gay called A Small Needful Fact, about Earl Garner, a black man killed by a police officer in Staten Island, New York in 2014. “The officer who killed Garner was never indicted” Maxwell said, “and was fired from his job in 2019, more than five years after he killed Garner.”

Pastor Chris Boyer of Lynnwood’s Good Shepherd Church described the important work “of standing alongside the victims of police violence, standing alongside the victims of oppression of all kinds.”

Edmonds Lutheran Church Pastor Tim Oleson said that church members “stand in solidary with you and with all people working for a most just society. I commit as a leader in this community to continue to lead my congregation in their work and in the things that we can do so that we don’t have to have many more vigils like this.”

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson addresses those attending the vigil.

Also speaking Wednesday night was Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. “I haven’t been out much because of COVID,” he said, “but this was something I felt very strongly to come out and see all of you and stand with you. I really want to thank whoever wrote about wanting to forgive because I’m working on forgiving those in power for not taking action.”

The mayor added that he wanted those who are Black and brown to feel safe. “I don’t want anybody to have to be at a traffic stop and feel as though they are going to die,” Nelson said.

— Story and photos by Misha Carter

    1. Ironic all of this. Mayor Nelson goes in support of our black and brown people…their words. Yet gathering is prohibited..the very population he says he is for helping,, as I am,, as well as the churches are actually endangering the groups known I’ve read that seem to be getting covid more frequently or having more serious reactions to it.
      So…the kindest , least selfish thing you can all do is stay home, quit the mic, guit the meeting, and get your vaccine.
      It’s nice of the churches to show they are not racists. But let’s get this undercontrol…then you can really show all your kindness. You may even get more parishioners…I hope.
      As far as Mr Nelson…who in power has not taken action? Some disclosure please…or is it smoke and mirrors and secrets time again?
      I am way into the Diversification of Edmonds…My main goal is the people of color here. That is a fact. I have their back to %. So Mike are you going to enforce distancing, masking to help them stay safe. Come on…you have to choose Mike…I know there is I Hope some anguish in your heart and mind…I am going to assume there is. Good. We all have it. Now, close this place down…use the power we gave you. Enforce, get tough…Our people of color here I assume want a strong man who will help protect their children and themselves. They want a leader…not a follower. A leader who is strong, not effected by the R and D, who can be depended on to always consider everyone in EVERY decision. Thank you.

    2. I know I’m pointing out the obvious, but of course he didnt…..black on black crime doesn’t fit the narrative. Nelson’s only motivation is to gain virtue points….nothing more, nothing less.

      1. Jeff, we do not know if the killer of Rhodes is black. That said, men of color were arrested on suspicion that they murdered Rhodes. They had to be let go. None of these fake people cared that this happened blocks from there.

  1. I have no idea why the mayor of a town of less than 40,000 people thinks anyone cares about his opinion on national politics

  2. Because, he and the council make the decisions on mandates, changes to the city…all of these things. What a silly thing you say Kashf. What is your motivation for saying this. Not a great way to make friends.

  3. It was a socially distanced, mask wearing gathering. I appreciate the efforts of several churches that worked together to make it happen…

  4. It is appropriate that Edmonds was able to have an opportunity to mourn George Floyd. His trial speaks for the American justice system and rule of law which provides for a fair trial for the person accused of killing him in such a brutal way. Hopefully he will get a just sentence based on his actions and conviction and not on the demands of a mob.
    Mr. Floyd’s murder and the murders of other unarmed men and women was the fault of a small number of [rogue] policemen and policewomen; it was not the fault of “The Police”. The police in American represent nearly a million people the overwhelming majority of whom are honest, responsible, caring men and women who are neither racists nor killers. Moreover American police are well integrated racially. Indeed there are many police officers of color. Condemning an entire category of people on the basis of the actions of a few is consistent with the rule of law; it is not who we are.

    1. Thank you for your well thought out comment. Right now there have been hundreds of extra killings because of defund initiatives around the country.

      We have to be very careful about the impacts of the reforms we are looking at to make sure that we are focusing on positive reforms. The fact is that the data shows that the police have to be an integral part of the solution in reform of it will be successful.

      There were a lot of well intentioned and thoughtful people at the memorial it sounds like however, we have to remember that in Seattle and other places, there are some very socially conscious and well intentioned mass murdering serial killer defund activists.

      The key is thoughtful reforms rather than blind statements like “defund the police,” and “ACAB.” Otherwise people will continue to kill far more people off color than the deaths they are protesting.

  5. It is good that our community came together to mourn the loss of a man, and today again, virtually.

    As society wrestles with sources of systemic racism, I would encourage everyone to watch the film available at medicalracism.org which, while it exposes known incidents of historic maltreatment of people of color in medicine, has implications to everyone.

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