In the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown, organizers on social media are planning for a national moment of silence tonight at 7:20 p.m. Eastern that will include events in more than 90 cities across 35 states. The vigils will honor victims of police brutality, organizers say. Activist and blogger Feminista Jones, 35, started organizing the nationwide vigil through Twitter on Sunday using the hashtag #nmos14.
“I hope to get people together for a moment of solidarity for this problem we have with the police,” said Jones. “We want people to come together and mourn the loss of people.”
Other social media users responded. On Wednesday night, Jones had a conference call with more than 75 organizers across the country. A Google document on the event’s Facebook page is being used by the loosely organized group to coordinate the effort in different cities.
Spelman College student Yemisi Miller-Tonnet, 19, volunteered to organize a vigil in Washington, D.C. at Meridian Park. “Feminista put a general call for organizing on Twitter and I really care about the issue so I decided to respond,” said Miller-Tonnet. More than 2,100 people have RSVP’ed on the Facebook page for the vigil in D.C.; Miller-Tonnet is expecting hundreds of people at the park.
She met three other organizers for the first time on Tuesday night to make signs, develop a program and finalize logistics. Before the moment of silence at 7:20, attendees are planning to chant the names of victims of police brutality.
DC #NMOS14 For everyone who is exhausted by the violence: pic.twitter.com/enawYS7FrM — Pegah (@pegahsus21) August 12, 2014
The vigils are mostly being organized by unaffiliated individuals. “The four of us who organized are citizens concerned about violence and we want to gather together and honor those lives lost,” wrote Denver organizer Kenny Wiley on Facebook. The Facebook pages for Chicago and New York have more than 1,000 Facebook RSVPs. Other cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and Denver have seen several hundred digital RSVPs on their organizing Facebook pages. Others have received a few dozen.
After a video was published by Anonymous calling Aug. 14 a Day of Rage, organizers are reminding people that the vigils are not protests and that they will be peaceful gatherings.