95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Neighbors in Boston Square gather for healing, amid trauma from Lyoya's death

Community members visit Boston Square Community Vision Board
Kylie Ambu/WGVU
/
Boston Square holds healing circle following Lyoya's death

“It can be so heavy to be a person of color. People take for granted that we are constantly bombarded with aggressions, micro-aggressions, some are very overt some are not, but it wears on a person, and to live in a constant state of crisis and trauma can be heavy," attendee Kimberly Williams said.

The killing of Patrick Lyoya by Grand Rapids police officer, Christopher Schurr, has caused a resurgence of anxiety and trauma in many communities of color. Neighbors in Boston Square worked together on Sunday to find a path forward.

Around a dozen community members gathered in the heart of Boston Square for a healing circle. The event was hosted by the Boston Square Neighborhood Association and Oakdale Neighbors, as a way to come together and address the trauma many felt throughout the neighborhood when Lyoya was killed. The 26-year-old, Congolese refugee was fatally shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids Police Officer during a traffic stop in the Boston Square area, on the corner of Griggs Street and Nelson avenue.

“It can be so heavy to be a person of color. People take for granted that we are constantly bombarded with aggressions, micro-aggressions, some are very overt some are not, but it wears on a person, and to live in a constant state of crisis and trauma can be heavy," attendee Kimberly Williams said.

Williams has lived in Boston Square for about 24 years. She beamed as she talked about the neighborhood’s vibrancy. As she mentioned its strong resiliency she explained the heaviness that comes with being Black, expected to soldier forward while many still need to heal.

“Because we do push through, people think, ‘okay never mind you’ll get over it,’ but we’re still dealing with trauma though. We can’t just excuse that away," she said.

Sunday’s gathering also featured a community vision board, where residents wrote messages like “Justice for Patrick” and “Racism is a public health crisis.” It also enlisted the help of Kayla Morgan, owner of Resilient Roots Yoga for trauma-informed exercises.

“If we're always seeing our people being murdered on social media... that’s called secondary trauma," Morgan explained.

Following Morgan's exercises, community members gathered at picnic tables for an open discussion surrounding feelings on equity, policing, policy changes and more. In a rain down pour, the community stayed locked in their circle of outdoor seats for more than an hour, hearing from all who wished to share words of frustration, passion and more as they worked towards healing and the future.

Related Content