The Humboldt Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity (HAPI) and the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship organized a walking meditation vigil on Sunday, March 21 for the eight people murdered in Atlanta on March 16. Six of the eight people murdered were of Asian descent.
Gathered in the parking lot of the fellowship, Marylyn Pike-Nicely, one of the vigil organizers and a member of HAPI, explains the hesitation to have the vigil somewhere more public like the plaza.
“When then President Trump, blamed China, calling it the ‘China flu virus’, that really sparked a lot of anti Asian hate and crime,” Pike-Nicely said. “We kind of had to live with that, and we talked about it, and we were here for a lot of people if they needed to have a safe place to talk about that.”
The vigil took place just outside of Arcata at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Jacoby Creek. For Pike-Nicely, being able to unpack her feelings in a safe, controlled environment was a priority. The walking vigil was organized to do exactly that while still heeding to social distancing guidelines.
People had the opportunity to walk through the fellowship’s courtyard commemorating those murdered in Atlanta. A Japanese Torii stood in the courtyard while the rhythmic beating of Taiko accompanied by the distant smell of burning incense grounded those looking to unpack their feelings. The events in Atlanta are brute reminders of the hate that festers within community relationships, and HAPI’s intent was to have a space for people to reflect and really dissect those feelings.
Terri Uyeki, a member of the fellowship and one of the HAPI members who helped organize the vigil, explains the significance of the space provided at the vigil.
“It’s important for us to do this not only to come together to mourn the lives of these innocent people, but also as a reminder that we are together, we have each other,” Uyeki said.
Along with the walking vigil, a table with sticky notes sat just in front of a “Love Over Hate” board. The board serves as a physical representation of the love and solidarity towards the Asian community. Origami cranes adorned these messages as a symbol of hope.
A hope that love will prevail over hate.
“I think we’ve really, really focused on love over hate, and that’s what it’s been all about today,” Pike-Nicely said.
Biographies of the victims
Slideshow images by Lupita Rivera and Nancy Garcia
Feature image by Lupita Rivera