In light of grand juries choosing not to indict the police officers involved in the deaths of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a Southampton woman is planning a vigil this Saturday afternoon at Agawam Park.
Emily Pepitone, a 2014 graduate of Southampton High School and freshman at Nichols College in Massachusetts, says she aims to raise awareness. The event is being billed as an opportunity to “commiserate about police violence and organize for peace.”
“The protest is for anyone who can’t stand idly by while unrest rages on in major cities,” Pepitone said, referring to the large-scale and disruptive protests that have been happening in St. Louis, Missouri, New York City, and other cities around the country.
Pepitone also plans to have an attorney or law enforcement officer come to have a “teach-in,” on what to do if stopped by the police. She emphasized that she does not believe all police officers are the same.
“If some cops have made a mistake, not every cop should held accountable for their actions,” she said.
The event will also include a “die-in,” in which participants will wear a name tag with the name of someone who has “suffered police brutality, fatality,” and lay still to represent the time that Brown’s body was left in the street, uncovered, after he died.
Pepitone did not seek a permit for the event; she said that if the protest does not include putting up any structures or putting out tables, the gathering does not require a permit.
The vigil is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. December 13. Agawam Park is located at Jobs and Pond lanes in Southampton Village.
On Friday, December 12, at 7 p.m., demonstrators will meet downstairs at Rogers Memorial Library to make protest signs.