HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – It’s been one year since the death of George Floyd while in police custody and cities across the US are using the anniversary to reflect on a challenging year, and plan for a brighter future.
In the City of Hot Springs, a peace vigil was held on Arlington Lawn to commemorate the event.
Many in attendance remembered where they were a year ago, and reflected on how much has changed in the past 12 months.
It was a solemn yet hopeful event as the Hot Springs community came together to remember and reflect.
City leaders including preachers, members of the Hot Springs chapter of the NAACP, and police chief Chris Chapmond of Hot Springs PD spoke on community violence, racial injustice, and the movements of the past year.
“We saw much tragedy that brought about tough conversations,” Chapmond said to those present, “and those tough conversations brought about change.”
Reverend Fred Nicholson with the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship Church attended the vigil to spread a message of hope and pray for an end to the violence.
“We’re trying to reach our community, our neighborhood and the people who are going to make a difference,” Nicholson said. “Just try and touch the hearts of people. That’s where the changes need to be made.”
He says he’s noticed that the world has changed since May 25th 2020, with people using isolation during the pandemic to learn more about others and themselves.
This feeling of togetherness was echoed by those in attendance, including a large group from a church in Hot Springs Village.
Other issues that were discussed at the vigil include the recent spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans, legislation many consider to be extreme voting restrictions, and the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.