VIGIL – a period of time when a group stays in place and quietly waits….a period of purposeful watchfulness.
May 25, 2020 George Floyd was killed. Watching the video of a policeman kneeling on him while he died aroused deep concern for racial justice. We joined churches across America asking what we could do.
In Philadelphia a congregation began a weekly vigil in which members stood holding signs at the corner of two major highways. Here in Albany, Elizabeth thought that we could do the same, standing on State Street in front of the church.
And that is what we did on September 22, 2020 – one year ago. In good weather and bad, hot weather and bitter cold weather, we have held a large banner proclaiming “Vigil for Racial Justice”.
On a recent Tuesday, Judy, Dave, and Elizabeth were in the Church Library sorting books as noon approached. As they headed up the parking lot, Mabel met them and offered to carry the banner. Dave slowly followed using his walker.
Up on the sidewalk, we unfolded the banner. Elizabeth handed out smaller signs as Margaret arrived from rehearsing for Sunday’s service. Then Archie appeared, a gentle black man who always spends a quarter hour with us.
Ned joined us. He and David discussed the years of Carl Cooper’s ministry while Mabel listened graciously to a passerby who lectured her about his understanding of most everything.
We were few that Tuesday…so many had so much to do…but we were there and will be there…waiting. Why? Because the least we can do is to remember and quietly make others remember that George Floyd is not forgotten and still we must ask what we can do.
Come join us Tuesday, September 21 as we celebrate one year of THE VIGIL! (See our Upcoming Events page for more information)
Rev. David McMillan, HR is a retired Presbyterian minister. In his retirement he has contributed his talents to Westminster by leading a variety of Bible studies, helping with the newsletter and the church family photo directory, chairing the WPC Centennial Anniversary Planning Committee, and assisted his wife, Elizabeth, organizing the Vigil for Racial Justice events. He and his wife Elizabeth live at The Beverwyck in Slingerlands.