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Christopher Kime Mardi Gras Vigil

Terry FitzPatrick

Several hundred people gathered in Pioneer Square Sunday in a vigil for the man who died as a result of Mardi Gras violence. KUOW’s Terry Fitzpatrick reports.

SAXOPHONE. THE SOUND OF AMAZING GRACE ECHOS THROUGH PIONEER SQUARE...AS PEOPLE SURROUND THE EXACT SPOT AT FIRST AND YESLER WHERE CHRISTOPHER KIME RECEIVED A FATAL BEATING ON FAT TUESDAY. Man: We’re going to remove the yellow tape, and we’ll replace the yellow tape with yellow daffodils as a sign of new life. ONE BY ONE, PEOPLE PLACE FLOWERS ON THE STREET. YOUNG AND OLD, BLACK AND WHITE, PEOPLE WHO’D NEVER KNOWN CHRISTOPHER KIME SHOW SUPPORT FOR A MAN WHO DIED BECAUSE HE STOPPED TO HELP A STRANGER AMIDST THE CHAOS OF MARDI GRAS. THE KIME FAMILY WORE BUTTONS WITH HIS PICTURE. Woman: We always thought Chris was a remarkable young man. And now get to share him with everyone else. Chris’s heart is beating in someone else. His lungs are breathing for someone else. Two people are walking around now who are able to see because of Chris’s eyes. Take your love, your anger, your frustration and I pray that that you use it for something positive. THIS VIGIL WAS ORGANIZED THROUGH RELIGIOUS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CLEANSE THE VIOLENCE FROM PIONEER SQUARE, AND ADDRESS THE DIVISIVNESS THE MARDI GRAS RIOTS HAVE INFLICTED. THE SPEAKERS INVOKED A SOMBER SPIRITUAL TONE. Woman: We come to you today with our sorrow, our anger and our confusion. We feel powerless against forces in our society that seem to harm our own children. Help us to heal the wounds of violence. The wounds of racism. The wounds of hatred. THE VIGIL BEGAN AT PLYMOUTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH BEFORE THE SILENT FOOT PROCESSION THROUGH DOWNTOWN TO PIONEER SQUARE. IT WAS NOT A MARCH, AND AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS SAID THE EVENT WAS NOT INTENDED TO PROMOTE DEBATE OVER WHETHER THE MARDI GRAS VIOLENCE WAS RACIALLY MOTIVATED. SEATTLE NAACP PRESIDENT OSCAR EASON. Eason: It’s ceremonial, and it’s about unity and it’s about things that are spiritual. We decided to sort of leave the politics out of it today. And set that aside. (PRAYER) AS PEOPLE JOINED IN GROUP PRAYER, THEY PLEDGED TO FIGHT UNDERAGE DRINKING, DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE, STREET GANGS, HATE GROUPS AND LEWD, UNCIVIL OR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR….THEY’RE WHAT MANY BELIEVE ARE THE ROOT CAUSES OF THE VIOLENCE THAT EXPLODED HERE TWO WEEKS AGO. IN PIONEER SQUARE, TERRY FITZPATRICK, KUOW 94.9 PUBLIC RADIO.