Eugene Community Gathers for Keenan Anderson
Community members gathered under the gazebo at the Owen Rose Garden on the evening of Jan. 15 for a candlelight vigil for Keenan Anderson in solidarity with other organized vigils across the country.
Anderson—a Black high school teacher from Washington D.C. and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors—was visiting his family in Los Angeles when, on Jan. 3, was involved in a traffic incident, had flagged-down help, and was subsequently tased several times by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department. He passed away several hours later of cardiac arrest.
The group of about 20 people gathered under the unusually dark gazebo—the lights have been on during past vigils—at 8:30 p.m., putting up large prints of Anderson on a couple of the posts. In the middle, a few lit candles were placed on the cement ground.
About a half hour later, a brief speech was heard. After mentioning the other vigils happening nationwide including in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and New York City, the speaker described the body-worn camera documented killing of Anderson.
Anderson’s name was read aloud along with Oscar Leon Sanchez and Takar Smith, the two other men of color killed by LAPD in the first two weeks of 2023, followed by a moment of silence. An open discussion ensued about police brutality statistics, the use of tasers, and memories of Charlie Landeros while the strong scent of melting candle wax wafted through the air.
Around 9:45 p.m., after the group’s chants of “ACAB” had pierced the silent and cold air, the vigil ended and people began to leave the rose garden.