In preparing for the Candelight Vigil to honor the 4th anniversary of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.’s killing by WP police officers, we were worried about the weather. We heard weather reports of heavy winds and pouring rain, and made a decision to move the vigil indoors to the Slater Center. We also made a last-minute decision to march to the WP Public Safety Bldg in the rain for a moment of silence. We made these plans and hoped and prayed the community would still come out for the vigil.
We were pleasantly surprised! We saw between 80-90 people come out for the Candlelight Vigil at the Slater Center. We had Porter Carroll, one of the founders of Atlantic Star open and close our program with moving music. We had many speakers: Lena Anderson of the White Plains-Greenburgh NAACP as MC of our vigil, Rev. Karen Eiler representing White Plains Religious Leaders open our vigil in prayer, Mayo Bartlett, Esq. speak about the case, Sandy Bernabei and Cora Miles talk about racism and the impact of police brutality and killings on our community, Bart Worden of the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester spoke about the need for justice, Kyla Upshaw the President of the Black Student Union of Westchester Community College spoke on how young adults are paying attention to police brutality, and Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. spoke movingly about his father.
Then a majority of people gathered marched out to the White Plains Public Safety building, battled heavy winds and pouring wind. We stood for a moment of silence and a final statement from Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. Media outlets and cameras were there to interview and videotape us. As we dispersed, we walked away soaking wet and cold but very warm in our hearts from the community support and solidarity.
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. sent his reflections about the vigil:
Last night’s vigil remembering the life of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was powerful! There were approximately 80 or so people in attendance standing in the pouring rain with candles held high in the air chanting JUSTICE FOR KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR!!!! Eldridge Cleaver said “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem”. There is a very big difference between being apart of a movement or just following one and the people who came out and stood with me are truly part of a movement.
Acting selflessly, wanting for your brother and sister what you want for yourself or putting a community or persons needs above your own is one of the most powerful things you can do. It is so much bigger than Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. and I wouldn’t want any other family to go through what my family and I have had to go through these past four years. The message last night was loud and clear and that message was that the days of accepting the killing of our loved ones is over and will no longer be tolerated.
Dr King said that he is not worried about any man or anything because he has been to the mountaintop. Malcolm X said that he lives like a man who has died already so that means that in order to truly live there must be a cause greater than yourself that you are willing to die for. Purpose vs position, who you are vs what you do. The promise I made four years ago to myself, my father, and to God has not changed and that is I am determined to let nothing stop me from getting Justice. So again on behalf of my family and myself I want to say thank you for coming out last night may there be justice for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. and may there be justice for all victims of police misconduct, brutality, and criminality.
Fios 1 News covered our event–AND AIRED IT. You can find the video coverage here: http://www.fios1news.com/lowerhudsonvalley/kenneth-chamberlian-4th-anniversary-vigil#.VlNE03arSUk. There are many photos from the event on Facebook–look up MLKIWestchester or Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. to see pictures and posts, and SHARE them.
Next Steps: Our next WCPR meeting is on Thursday, December 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. (at Memorial United Methodist Church, 250 Bryant Ave., White Plains 10605). Please come out to our monthly meeting to discuss next steps, action items and our coalition priorities–body camera policies and Know Your Rights training.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Doris K. Dalton
Exec. Director, MLK Institute for Nonviolence