More than 100 people gathered in Manchester on Saturday evening for another vigil in honor of those who have lost their lives to police violence.

The Black Lives Matter executives of New Hampshire who hosted the event say they are tired. After a year of calls for change, they said there had been no real action by heads of state to enact racial justice reform, as police killings of blacks across the country continue.

The vigil, hosted by the YWCA Manchester along with several BLM locals, was officially in memory of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was killed by police in Minnesota during a traffic stop.

BLM leaders told the crowd that police reform was not enough to stop police violence. They say the focus should be on cutting funding and ultimately abolishing the police.

“We try to work with elected officials; we are trying to work with the local police to fill in the gaps, find common ground, do reform work, ”said Black Lives Matter Nashua founder Jordan Thompson. “But the system cannot be reformed, and we are not asking here to reform it. We are calling for abolition here. “

Thompson called on New Hampshire lawmakers who attended that vigil and others, but then voted against proposals for what he called basic police reforms.

“You will show up to these vigils, and you will tweet ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘I met Black Lives Matter’,” said Thompson. “But when it’s time to vote the way we ask you to vote, it’s silence, or you vote the wrong way.”

Black Lives Matter Manchester, Nashua and Seacoast come out seven requests last summer for the gubernatorial candidates in response to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police. These included the requirement for implicit bias training for all state and government employees, the creation of a new racial equity task force, and the ban on the use of rubber bullets and tear gas by the police.

None of those demands have been met, either by Gov. Chris Sununu or state lawmakers, over the past year. And only a handful of recommendations by Sununu’s commission on police accountability and transparency reforms have been implemented.

“That’s what we mean when we say electoral politics will not be our saving grace,” said Ronelle Tshiela, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Manchester. “They left us exhausted, and they left us even more fearful of our lives than before we started. We spent a year doing this and we are tired.

Activist Kurt Bertrand, who also spoke at the event, highlighted the state budget proposal recently passed by New Hampshire House, which includes a provision it would prevent taxpayer dollars from going to entities that teach systemic racism and sexism.

“We live in a state that often means diversity is welcome and then their actions say otherwise,” Bertrand said.

The night ended with a call to action to keep those in the crowd coming forward to fight for racial justice.

“Think of all the people you know a year ago who showed up at a George Floyd event in May and June when it was aesthetically pleasing for their Instagram,” Jordan Thompson said. “Now look around and do you see these people here today? Maybe not.”

Black Lives Matter Chapters say they will continue to host events throughout the summer, but they are also still working in their local communities to provide assistance, such as utility rescue, to residents of color in New Hampshire.

These articles are shared by The Granite State News Collaborative partners. For more information, visit collaborativenh.org.





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