Dozens of students, faculty, and community members gathered during a thunderstorm at the University of San Diego for a Black Lives Matter Vigil on December 6. It was organized by ANSWER Coalition, and included participation from PSL San Diego, the USD Black Student Union, USD MEChA, USD PRIDE, IWW, and other organizations.
The vigil started out front of the Student Life Pavilion, as candles were passed out. Each candle came with a name of someone who had become a victim of imperialist and/or colonialist violence. Alanna Bledman from ANSWER and the BSU performed a moving piece from a performance she wrote as a theater major at the school before the vigil mobilized mostly in silence, but also with soft chants such as “We Shall Overcome.”
The attendees marched to the Reflection Pool behind the Institute for Peace and Justice, where ANSWER and BSU member Alanah Winston spoke about the weight of white supremacist violence on the Black, Chicano and Indigenous peoples of the United States: “I was asked to speak about police brutality tonight, but I struggle to find the words.” She continued, “Something must be done about the imperial and colonial violence.” Winston emphasized the importance of recognizing that the vigil took place on stolen Kumeyaay land. “It will always belong to them”, she said
The names of the victims were read. Those mentioned ranged from Fred Hampton to Tamir Rice to Roxsana Hernandez and others beyond U.S. borders. There was conversation about imperialist violence in Palestine, Honduras, Haiti, as well as the assassination of Black Panther Party leaders. Solidarity with the migrants was demanded as the community members stood in unity against state violence and imperialism. PRIDE and ANSWER member Sam Stringer closed out the vigil by stressing the importance of direct action, the right to self-determination, and unity against imperialism.