Mothers of the Movement Commemorate Those Lost to ‘Violence and Indifference’

Vigil attendees wrote names of lost loved ones, dates, and hopes on ribbons tied to a display honoring individuals lost to violence. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
A representation of the growing movement to end violence against women of color, the vigil also served as a platform to highlight the intersection of issues including: criminal justice reform, equal pay, gun violence, immigration, and reproductive justice. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, held up a photo of her son, a teenager who was killed by gun violence, as she was comforted by Alicia Garza, the co-creator of Black Lives Matter.

“My son would be alive today had it not been for the loose and destructive gun laws in America that allow vigilantism ... where the shooter can cry that he fears for his life as a means of justifying unconscionable behavior, as a gun becomes a tool for carrying out his implicit biases towards someone that doesn’t think, look, or act like him,” said McBath. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
McBath continued to address the crowd, saying, “Here we gather today standing side by side, wearing our full armor as we once again rise up to the rampant gun violence plaguing our communities.” Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Shante Needham, sister of Sandra Bland, called for accountability on behalf of victims of police brutality. “It has now been a year and two months, and we still don’t know what happened [to my sister]”, she said. A portrait of her sister adorns the podium where she speaks. “We need accountability, and we need accountability now. Accountability is losing your job, going to jail, and probably paying some sort of restitution to the community. That’s what accountability means for me," said Needham. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
The crowd listened as Samaria Rice spoke about losing her son Tamir Rice, who was commemorated on one of the many yellow ribbons.

“We are not seen as human,” Rice cried. Her son was killed by Cleveland police while playing in a park with a toy gun. He was 12 years old. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Samaria Rice, standing at the podium with an illustration of her son behind her, continued her emotional address to the crowd.

“As Black women, we have to endure this neverending violence, and trauma, and pain. We cannot wait for the government, nor the police, and the large powers of the state to correct itself,” Rice said. "I have joined the fight for all of us." Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Two people in the crowd supported each other while listening to Brè Campbell of the Trans Sistas of Color Project-Detroit speak. “Trans women of color are walking through the world waiting for something bad to happen to them. That’s not a way to live. We have to remember to walk in this world seeking justice, not only for ourselves but for others who don’t look like us,” Campbell said. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
"2016 will go down as the year with the most deaths of trans people ever recorded," continued Campbell, imploring the crowd to speak up and “say something” if they see a trans person, woman of color, or other person of color being harassed. "Take care of each other. Love each other .… An injustice towards one is an injustice towards all." Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Monique Harris of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network, who lives with cerebral palsy, described the links between her daily struggles, reminding the crowd that disability justice is racial justice. She explained that she prefers to wheel down the street rather than the sidewalk for fear of harassment, saying "I'd rather be hit by a car in the street than use the sidewalk and be attacked for being Black and disabled."

Her family’s safety is also a daily concern: “My fear is that one day my beautiful Black son might be stopped by police that shoot him, or worse,” she said. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Gilda Blanco of National Domestic Workers Alliance addressed the crowd in Spanish.

“I'm a Black immigrant from Guatemala. Like many, I came to this country with many hopes and dreams,” Blanco said. “I am here as a Black woman to raise a very different reality for immigrants in the U.S." She spoke of how she lived in fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement knocking down her door, and the relief she felt when she finally gained legal status. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
“The fact that I now have legal status doesn't mean my fight is over. My fight is just beginning,” concluded Blanco, as supporters from the National Domestic Worker Alliance listened. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
A young woman listened to Aber Kawas (not pictured), youth lead organizer of the Arab American Association of New York, deliver remarks on how the conversation about liberation often fails Muslim communities, especially post 9/11. “I come from a family that has been ripped apart by the U.S. immigration system and Islamophobic policies,” Kawas said. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
“We honor the lives that we've lost to violence and indifference,” said Alicia Garza (not pictured), co-creator of Black Lives Matter, in her remarks. "Our families are worth fighting for.” Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
As night fell, hundreds of ribbons crowded the line holding illustrations of people of color who have been lost to violence. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Rashad Robinson (not pictured) of Color of Change, told those holding vigil, “Change will not come if we don’t work for it.” Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
A woman listened to April Goggans (not pictured) of Black Lives Matter in Washington, D.C., speak on economic injustice in her community. "The median household income of white families in D.C. is $120,000,” Goggans said. “For Black families, it's $41,000.” Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) (not pictured) was last to address the crowd that spilled over into the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue. She urged them to remain active in the political system and continue to push elected officials for change. “We’re here to make sure that the aspirations that your children have and that my child has are the same as other families—except our children may not get to live those aspirations because of a system and structures that work against them. We’re here to break down those barriers,”she said. Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire

More than 750 people gathered at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., for a vigil on Monday to commemorate the lives of people of color lost to ongoing violence, as part of a national summit hosted by the We Won’t Wait 2016 campaign. The campaign is a nonpartisan effort representing and advocating for the economic agenda of women of color and low-income women. “We honor the lives that we’ve lost to violence and indifference,” said Alicia Garza, co-creator of Black Lives Matter, in her remarks. “Our families are worth fighting for.”