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Diverse group gathers following week of gun violence


tashaDays  after a rough week that left Americans reeling from the deaths of unarmed black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile; followed by the killings of five Dallas policemen,  several groups of Tylerites joined together for prayer and to honor lost lives.

Vigil for Freedom was organized by Erricka Bailey, cofounder of My African American Mothers’ Alliance (MAAMA).

MAAMA hosted a vigil, with the support of  Rose City Doulas, Pineywoods Voice, Beth Lytle and Tyler Transgender Support Group.

The short event included participants reciting the names of Dallas police officers killed July 8 and dozens of black Americans who were killed by police in recent years.

Tasha Portley, cofounder of MAAMA, spoke about the need for all Americans see each other’s humanity.

“Tomorrow I ask you to rise and be uncomfortable,” she said. “Sit in your uncomfortableness. That’s how healing takes place. That’s where progress takes place. I ask you to rise and ask questions. I ask you to rise and be empowered. I ask you to rise and give a damn about something and someone else–anything that does not fit into your picture-perfect box.”


Top left: Erricka Bailey talks to a participate of a July 12 vigil that honored lives of black Americans killed by police. The event also honored the five Dallas police officers who were killed July 12. Top right, Tasha Portley speaks about embracing each other’s humanity during the vigil. Above, Hannah Morris with Pineywoods Voice converses with other vigil participants.



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