Vigil in Memory of Aura Rain Rosser

Date: 
Thu, Nov 9, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

City:

Aura Rain Rosser was an artist and a mother of three, murdered by AAPD officer David Ried on November 10, 2014. Three years have passed and Ann Arbor has failed to acknowledge the value of her life, let alone attempt justice for her death. We are gathering to say, for the third year, Aura Rosser matters and Black Lives Matter. We will gather at 6PM at the Justice Center to remember Aura in silence, to say her name, and to hold a speak out for Black people to speak about what Aura and/or the Black Lives Matter movement has meant for them. In memory of Aura and her life’s work as an artist, we will collectively work on a public art project on site.

Speakers:
Maryam Aziz, Ann Arbor Alliance for Black Lives (A3BL)
Shirley Beckley, Ann Arbor community member and organizer
Rosalyn Kent, Students of Color of Rackham (SCOR)
Paquetta Palmer, Community member
+ Time will be open for public participation, Black women first, and then folks who have experienced police brutality and mental health crisis will be given priority

This event will not be held in cooperation or coordination with law enforcement. Law enforcement are not welcome.
City officials who choose to attend should take on the role of listening to the experiences and demands of Black residents.

Accessibility: the vigil will remain in one place, there are no public restrooms available at the site, the location is accessible for folks in wheelchairs and mobility devices on wheels via ramp, and there will be several ways to interact with the art aspect for folks with a variety of body types and skills. We want all people to be able to access this event, if you have questions about access, please don't hesitate to message the Transforming Justice Washtenaw page; we'd love to talk with you.

#AuraRosser #BlackLivesMatter #SayHerName

History
On the evening of November 9, 2014, the Ann Arbor Police Department (AAPD) were called to a domestic dispute between Aura Rain Rosser and another person. Two officers responded and chose to respond to Aura with violence as she experienced mental health crisis--one fired a taser, the other the lethal gun shots that ended Aura’s life just after midnight on November 10, 2014.

Multi-racial organizing groups, including Ann Arbor Alliance for Black Lives (A3BL) and Ann Arbor to Ferguson, have organized for justice for Aura Rosser since her death. After meetings with city council and the human rights commission that were tied up in bureaucracy and bad faith practices, Ann Arbor to Ferguson submitted demands to the Human Rights Commission for a police oversight board (1) which has not been realized.

Prosecutor Brian Mackie remains complicit in a biased investigation that was not independent, and that found no guilt on behalf of Officer Ried, with no consequences. Officer Ried remains armed and on the police force. Chief Baird follows in the footsteps of former Chief John Seto, by denying any wrongdoing or need for changes in policy, procedure, or accountability following Aura’s death--in fact he says there is no need for police oversight (2). Mayor Chris Taylor recently defended Officer Ried and AAPD in the killing of Aura Rosser, at a rally against white supremacy. He has consistently referred to her death as a “tragedy of drug use”--continuing a national narrative that blames Black people for the state's violence used against them. Ann Arbor City Council recently “took a knee” at a city council meeting, symbolically acknowledging racial inequities on the national stage but did not mention our own local history with harassment, abuse, and murder of Black residents(3)--nor the recent violent treatment of a Black teen at Blake Transit Center. The Human Rights Commission issued a report recommending police oversight more than a year ago, to which Ann Arbor City Council responded by spending $230,000 of city money to “investigate” and “review” AAPD’s policies and practices, rather than listen to the voices of Black residents who stated they have experienced abuse--made most evident by the death of Aura Rosser. The findings of that report will be issued to City Council on November 16, 2017. City council has made NO COMMITMENT to follow the recommendations of that report, or use that report to actually take any material steps to improve the quality of life of Black residents or change the way they are policed by AAPD. City administrator Howard Lazarus tells local activists that it is OUR responsibility, as unpaid citizens, to make sure changes are implemented.

In the death of Aura Rosser and the injustice to follow, the whole system is guilty as hell.

1: https://radicalwashtenaw.org/2015/05/18/open-letter-to-the-ann-arbor-human-rights-commission/
2: http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/06/chief_not_yet_convinced_ann_ar.html
3: https://www.michigandaily.com/section/ann-arbor/council-kneeling-debate

RESOURCES:
- Who Killed Aura Rosser, radicalwashtenaw.org/2016/11/11/who-killed-aura-rosser/
- People’s Retort to the Prosecutor’s Report, radicalwashtenaw.org/2015/04/02/peoples-retort-to-the-prosecutors-report/
- The Killing of Aura Rosser, One Year Later and Still no Justice, counterpunch.org/2015/11/10/the-killing-of-aura-rosser-one-year-later-and-still-no-justice/
- Still Seeking Justice, https://radicalwashtenaw.org/2016/11/03/still-seeking-justice-for-aura-rosser%E2%80%A8/
- New footage, https://radicalwashtenaw.org/2016/09/15/new-footage-nearly-2-years-after-aura-rossers-murder/

https://www.facebook.com/events/471571629909465/

Location: 
301 E Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1908, United States

Event Type: