WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — College students in Luzerne County gathered Tuesday night to honor the life of Tyre Nichols.
The 29-year-old was beaten to death last month following a traffic stop in Memphis.
A solemn vigil was held Tuesday at Wilkes University.
Students tell Eyewitness News Reporter Madonna Mantione they want to take this time to acknowledge the racial disparities that continue to plague the nation in memory of Tyre Nichols.
Wilkes University students and faculty gathered near the center of campus holding candles.
It’s where the Multicultural Student Coalition hosted a vigil honoring the life of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.
“It felt necessary because there’s so many times that we see an incident like this happen or police brutality and it’s a headline for two weeks and nobody ever checks up on it again, and it’s getting a little sad to see. Not a little, it’s getting very sad to see,” said Kathrine Ermeus, President of the Wilkes University Multicultural Student Coalition.
The emotional vigil included speeches, singing, and a moment of silence that lasted for three minutes, one for each day that Nichols spent in the hospital prior to his death.
The graphic body cam video showing the brutal beating of Nichols by Memphis police officers continues to haunt Erica Acosta, Director of Diversity Initiatives at Wilkes University.
“Just the little bit of piece that I heard was him crying for his mom and I had to shut it down, you know. I’m always nervous, as my husband is a black man, of what would happen if we’re just driving downtown, or out of state period. So, those concerns are worrisome and that’s why I was crying because I’m like this could have been any of my young men here, or my husband, and that’s what drives it home,” said Acosta.
Students tell Eyewitness News leaning on one another for support during this time is critical.
“It was just really moving to see a lot of faculty and staff and students come together and really acknowledge that the movement really does start with us. The change begins with us. Acknowledgment starts with us, and for anything to really truly happen we cannot do it apart we have to do it together,” said Ermeus.
The NAACP Wilkes-Barre Branch is set to host a vigil of its own for Tyre Nichols Sunday, February 12, at 2:00 p.m. on Public Square. All are invited to attend.