Skip to content

“It was like a funeral procession”: Comrades Collective organized a Justice4Patrick caravan in the neighborhood where the GRPD killed the Congolese immigrant

April 3, 2023

On Sunday afternoon, it felt more like a funeral procession than it did a protest. Then I remembered that in many cultures the public display of grief, of anger and rage against an injustice often happens with funerals. I witnessed this kind of creative resistance in Central American and Mexico, especially among the Indigenous people of that region.

There was something cathartic about the whole action. I felt centered and focused on what we were doing, which sometimes doesn’t always happen during protests or marches.

We began in the Boston Square Neighborhood and drove mostly on the side streets, particularly in neighborhoods that had a higher proportion of Black residents. 

We honked horns, drove very slow, used the little orange flags that funeral homes often use when they drive from the church to the cemetery.

Messages were painted on vehicle windows, like “Patrick Lyoya should still be alive,” “Justice4Patick”, and the GRPD are murderers.

At one point we drove through the neighborhood where Patrick Lyoya was killed, where he was shot in the back of the head by then GRPD cop Christopher Schurr, who sat on top of the Congolese immigrant who was face down on the ground.

You could eve see the small memorial that has existed for nearly a tear, a memorial that rests up against a tree with flowers, candles and pictures.

As we woven through the streets, honking horns and chanting, many of the residents in the southeast side of Grand Rapids came out of their homes, so to take pictures or films what was happening, but there were also lots of residents who cheered us on, who out their fist in the air and who even joined in the chanting.

One of my favorite chants was, “The whole damn system is corrupt!”

The whole caravan action last two hours, even though it felt like it went by a lot faster than that. It probably had to do with all the great energy from those participating.

When we reconvened at the place we started, one organizer said to me that this was a kickoff to numerous events/actions that would be organized in the struggle for justice on behalf of Patrick Lyoya and his family. I had no doubt about the resolve and commitment displayed by these young organizers. It brought me great joy!

This Tuesday is the next action!!!!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: