Ithaca, N.Y. — Ithaca was quiet last night as a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case touched off protests and rallies across the nation.
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Tonight, however, there will be a candlelight vigil outside the Tompkins County Courthouse in Ithaca to commemorate Brown, who was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in August. A grand jury ruled out criminal charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, on Monday.
The organizers of the “Stop the Jail Expansion” Facebook page posted the event yesterday and asked attendees to bring “cellphones, cameras, megaphones & signs.”
Around 170 people had RSVP’ed that they would be attending the vigil — titled “We Stand With Ferguson & Mike Brown the day after the grand jury” — as of around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“It is a community event,” said Jaimi Hendrix, who created today’s Facebook event but stressed she’s not representing anyone or any particular group.
“When the verdict came out for Trayvon Martin there was also a vigil in front of the courthouse and this is a continuation of that vigil.”
“It’s about solidarity among all the victims of senseless police violence.”
Hendrix said the vigil will be peaceful, calling it about “getting to know our neighbors, how they feel about it and what we can do together to make sure it doesn’t happen in Ithaca again.” She said “it” referred to the killing of black men by police officers, which she said occurs locally as well.
Some of the protests in the U.S. last night involved heavy looting and vandalism. Hendrix said the vigil in Ithaca would not be destructive.
Instead, it’s being held “to help people start talking with one another – that’s the most important thing,” she said. “That people ask each other, ‘What are you thinking? How do you feel? What’s going on in your life? What does this mean to you?’”