Dallas vigil for Atatiana Jefferson and other victims of state violence
On the evening of October 19, a number of organizations gathered at Belo Garden Park in Dallas, Texas, for a vigil for Atatiana Jefferson and other victims of state violence. Atatiana Jefferson was murdered in her home while playing video games with her niece by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean on October 12, 2019. The vigil also commemorated others killed by state violence in the U.S. and abroad.
Some 25 people were commemorated at the vigil. Some were names well known in the United States, such as George Floyd and Sandra Bland. Others are less famous. Randall Echanis was a Filipino land reform activist tortured to death by Filipino security forces. Yousef Sobeh was a 16-year-old Palestinian boy shot several times and run over by the Israeli military. Victor Jara was a Chilean folk singer tortured and murdered by the Chilean military in 1973. Sudipta Gupta was an activist with the Student Federation of India who was beaten to death by police in Kolkata after he was arrested at a protest. Each of the individuals was commemorated by a portrait displayed in the park.
The vigil was organized by the Dallas Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Malaya Movement, the Palestinian Youth Movement, the Dallas Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, the Dallas Anti-War Committee, and the Dallas Peace and Justice Center.
Atatiana Jefferson's uncle, LaPaca Jefferson, addressed the gathering, as did representatives of different organizations, including did Ray Jordan, the senior pastor Central Congregational UCC, who also teaches human rights at Southern Methodist University.
Cassandra Swart, speaking on behalf of the Dallas Anti-War Committee, tied the deaths of the people killed abroad to the victims of police brutality in the United States: “All of these people, and even more that have not been named here, have been killed as a result of U.S. foreign policy and U.S. meddling in their countries.”