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We don’t need to hear the opinions of people who are responsible for the death of Patrick Lyoya: WOODTV8 story should have centered the voices of the African Diaspora Community

May 2, 2022

Yesterday, the group, A Glimpse of Africa, hosted an event that was designed to allow people to collectively grieve the police killing of Patrick Lyoya. City Officials were invited by the group, but that doesn’t mean that news agencies should center their voices……which is exactly what WOODTV8 decided to do.

If you watch the story that WOODTV8 aired last night, the first voice you hear is that of Police Chief Eric Windstorm. The channel 8 newsreader then says: 

Several refugees and members of the African community also took the floor to share how they feel about the shooting. The conversation became tense at times.

Many said they’re disappointed to have this happen after escaping war-torn countries. They say there needs to be change in city and police policy.

“This could happen to any one of us. When I saw Patrick being shot in that video, I thought of myself. As a female, Black African immigrant, it could have been me. It could have been my friend, it could have been my brothers or sisters,” said Fridah Kahini, the founder of a Glimpse of Africa.

First, WOODTV8 should have led with the comment by Fridah Kahini, which would have rightly centered the voices of those in the African community. Second, viewers then should have heard from several other people from the African community that spoke yesterday, instead of the newsreader just telling us, “the conversation became tense at times.” Of course it was tense, because people are angry and afraid, which was beautifully conveyed by the co-founder of A Glimpse of Africa. Third, the text version of the story is even worse as it includes this comment from the newsreader: 

Bliss said there’s work the city has to do internally and with the community, but she’s confident they have already started that work.

Again, there is no need to center the voices of the people who are ultimately responsible for Patrick’s death, but the channel 8 reporter could have challenged the Mayor on her comments by asking how the city is committed to not allowing GRPD cops to murder residents in the future.

Ultimately, when City officials get invited to events like this, they need to keep quiet and really listen to the people who are most affected by the police murder of Patrick Lyoya. City officials need to recognize that they were invited specifically for the purpose of listening to what the African community had to say and to sit with their discomfort, not say ridiculous things that demonstrate their whiteness.

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