On Monday night, close to 80 individuals gathered near the UNM bookstore to honor the life of Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by the Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) in Minneapolis on April 11.
Daunte Wright was a 20-year-old Black man who was pulled over at a traffic stop and fatally shot by BCPD officer Kim Potter. Police say Wright was pulled over due to expired registration tags but Wrights’ mother said he told her on the phone it was due to an illegally hung air freshener. The department is now claiming it was accidental, and that Potter mistook her gun for her taser, according to Star Tribune. The officer and the police chief have now resigned.
The vigil in Albuquerque was organized by the Black New Mexico Movement (BNMM), and PRESS NM, two activist groups dedicated to anti-racism efforts. Other groups who were supporting the event included the Party of Socialism and Liberation, the Answer Coalition, the Many Opposing Brutality and Fight for Our Lives.
Te Barry, a lead organizer with BNMM, said police in Minnesota are trying to silence protesters by enacting curfew and that it’s important for New Mexico to stand in solidarity.
“We can’t go out and exercise our rights, we can’t go out and grieve,” Barry said. “The one thing I will never tell you guys is how to feel.”
Barbara Jordan, founder of PRESS NM, spoke to the crowd about how Wright had called his mother in his last moments, causing Jordan to invite her own son up and introduce him.
“Is this what we have to do to get you to see our Black children? Do I have to introduce every Black child in-depth to you? To beg you not to murder them?” Jordan said.
Later in the evening glow sticks were passed out, and Jordan led the group in a moment of silence in honor of Wright. As the crowd slowly dispersed, Trey Songz’s “2020 Riots: How Many Times” played, a song created in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.
Jordan spoke to the Daily Lobo after the vigil on why it’s important for the New Mexico community to continue to show up in protest in solidarity for police brutality that happens elsewhere.
“If we don’t show New Mexico that our lives matter at every turn, we lose this battle,” Jordan said. “My goal is to remind everyone that our lives matter every time, so we can not excuse anything anymore.”
Madeline Pukite is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @madelinepukite