NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - A Community Vigil for Black Lives was held on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Park in New Providence. The program, which attracted many, was student-led in partnership with the Diversity Committee of New Providence.
The vigil was led by Claire Alvine from the New Providence Diversity Committee who discussed the importance of coming together as a community and showing support and solidarity regardless of skin color. New Providence Mayor Al Morgan then greeted the crowd and shared the importance of being an ally and making a change. “It is ever so important for each and every one of us to become an ally. Being an ally means being willing to act with others to end oppression and create equality. It starts with us, it starts at home, it starts right here,” said Morgan.
Sienna Joseph, a senior at Governor Livingston, shared a personal story about experiencing racism at her school as a freshman. Jordan Hall, a 12-year-old New Providence resident and student in Short Hills followed. His speech discussed why “All Lives Matter'' as a rebuttal to “Black Lives Matter” is so hurtful. Hall finished his speech by simply stating, “all lives cannot matter until black lives matter.”
The crowd was asked to light their cell phone flashlights as a young Stella Mascarina took the microphone and began reciting names of black victims that were killed by police, she was then joined by Joseph and Hall. Alvine invited the crowd to join her for eight minutes and forty-six seconds of silence, to honor George Floyd and the other victims.
The vigil concluded with a prayer by Pastor Jeff Ebert from the New Providence Presbyterian Church. “We can’t go forward if our hearts are filled with bitterness or judgmentalism. Help us to be proactive in the spirit of trying to make things better. Even for the neighbor who doesn’t look like me, who doesn’t think like me, who doesn’t speak like me, who doesn’t pray like me, who doesn’t vote with me. Lord our God, help us to listen. Let listening be the beginning of love. To listen to people of color and say we hear you, to listen to white people and say we hear you, to listen to police officers and say we hear you, to listen to protesters and say we hear you, let listening be the beginning of love.”