GALESBURG, Illinois — Behind a podium at the top of the steps of City Hall, Doc Patterson addressed a crowd of nearly 100 people. The Galesburg NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) chapter president asked everyone to turn and greet someone whom they had never met.
"I'm glad that Doc [Patterson] had us do that exercise because sometimes, it really is as simple as looking across the street, and saying 'hi' to someone you've never met," said Tianna Cervantez, Director, Center of Intercultural Life at Knox College. Cervantez was one of several speakers to address the crowd on Sunday evening.
The Galesburg NAACP chapter has about 70 members currently, according to Patterson. The vigil, themed, "Our Lives Matter" was organzied by Patterson.
Patterson challenged each speaker to provide a solution towards community divisiveness.
"As adults, we all need to understand that our children are watching us, and how we deal with and respond to difficult circumstances," said Ralph Grimm, Superintendent District 205.
Superintendent Grimm said his district would would harder to build relationships with students.
"Love is the only solution. That message should be the one that we take home to our families, and to our friends and relay, as we leave here today," said Candy Webb, Membership Chair, Illinois State Conference NAACP.
The vigil was held at Galesburg City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on July 23, 2016.