Luis Hernandez lead a rally and vigil to honor Daunte Wright on Friday evening.
The Morrisania resident says he relates to the 20-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Sunday.
“Just to know that he’s one year older than me. It could’ve been me, it could’ve been my brother. I’ve been in similar encounters where police stop us and take us out of the car,” Hernandez said.
Dozens attended the vigil hosted by ‘The Gathering for Justice’ in partnership with groups like "Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes" in Times Square.
They also honored many others who died during encounters with police, including Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old who is seen being fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in newly released video.
“We're tired of adding names to this list of 'Say her name, say his name, say their name. We're sick of it. So we need this time to mourn,” said Keris Love, who lives in Parkchester and is also an activist with the Justice League NYC.
Elected officials, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, spoke out, as well as faith leaders who offered prayers.
“I keep watching my news feed and I’m assaulted from my very home where I’m staying sheltering in place during covid from the constant assault on black bodies,” said Pastor Kaji Dousa, who is with the Park Avenue Christian Church.
While organizers say they’ve taken to the streets to march for social justice plenty of times, on Friday evening, they needed a day to simply grieve and process together.
“Today we're feeling the pain. Today we're mourning. We want to hold space for Adam, we want to hold space for Daunte, and so a vigil is the right response,” Hernandez said.
This all also comes as the Derek Chauvin trial is underway, a case in Minnesota that these New York City activists are closely watching.