New Black Lives Matter mural added

A new mural stating Black Lives Matter has been added to downtown Ripon.

A vigil will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. in Rotary Square "to honor the victims of racial violence and to end white silence on the issue," according to organizers.

At the event, which is being organized by several Ripon residents, names of victims will be read and posters honoring them will be displayed. Participants will be invited to make personal commitments to work for racial justice and local faith leaders will offer prayers.

Organizer Kat Griffith explained that the idea came in part from residents who felt like they needed to do something.

"I got calls from two separate people asking if I was doing anything about the current situation or wanted to work with them to organize something," she said. "I knew them but had never worked with them before. But I decided that yes, we needed to do this."

She described the callers as "young adults who grew up in Ripon."

Griffith added that her desire to take action also stemmed from an event last week at Ripon College called "Critical Discernment and Healing Spaces — Black Lives Matter."

"[I] wanted to follow up on that with some concrete actions," she said.

Griffith, who also works with a couple diversity groups, noted that she's heard  from students "a lot of stories of racism. My students experienced bold insults, subtle jibes, occasional violence, and ubiquitous cultural and institutional barriers that wore them down or derailed their best efforts," she said. "... When it came to racism, my students were my teachers — and once they opened my eyes, I saw the world differently."

Sunday's vigil aims to recognize those experiences.

"This is a somber, respectful vigil to honor victims of racial violence," Griffith said, adding that "the organizers request that attendees wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. Attendees are invited to bring their own signs; organizers will provide a limited number."


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