Eighteen years after the death of Amadou Diallo––an unarmed 23-year-old college student from Liberia who was fatally shot by police officials in the doorway of his Bronx apartment building––his family has turned their tragedy into triumph by using the young man’s legacy as an avenue to combat police brutality and advocate for education.
Diallo’s loved ones, politicians, civil rights advocates, and the mothers of individuals who have fallen victim to police brutality, gathered Thursday at the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem for the second annual Amadou Diallo Foundation benefit dinner.
The event, hosted to raise scholarship funds for promising students, celebrated Diallo’s legacy and honored individuals who were instrumental in fighting for justice for Diallo and others who lost their lives at the hands of police officers. ABC reporter A.J. Ross served as the MC. Among those honored included former New York City mayor David Dinkins, former Rep. Charles Rangel, and Rev. Al Sharpton.
“Through the 18 years, you’ve supported us; not only my family, but many others after Amadou,” said Diallo’s mother Kadiatou Diallo. “Thank you for letting the community know that you are the shoulders in which we can stand on in a time of crisis.”
During the dinner, the award recipients, who were on the front lines fighting for Diallo’s family, recounted the sacrifices they made for the sake of justice. Dinkins, Rangel, and Sharpton all shared their experiences during the 1999 demonstrations at One Police Plaza following Diallo’s death, during which scores of people were apprehended.
The Rev. Sharpton delved into how pivotal it was for Dinkins to participate in the protests and risk being arrested. “He knew that if he made that statement, it would resonate all over the world. Because he sacrificed, the world stopped and had to deal with police brutality,” said Sharpton.
Grammy-nominated soul vocalist Aloe Blacc delivered a powerful live performance. He says he wants to use his music as a way to show the younger generation how they can utilize their art for social change.
Although the event was celebratory, keynote speaker Dr. Steve Perry, Head of Capital Preparatory Schools, ended the evening on a serious note as he touched on the current political climate, the state of race relations in America, and the strained relationship between law enforcement officials and communities of color.
“Tonight, we’re here to celebrate the life of a man who racism killed. The same racism that has elected this President; internalized and positioned in such a way that it’s become a cancer that has us thinking that we can’t even trust each other,” said Dr. Perry. “We’re here today to give comfort to a family that has lost someone that they love; whose life was cut short by violence. We’ve got to get tired of this; so tired that we change and make it so that this is a rare occasion.”
46 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Antwon Rose Jr., 171 of 46
2. Robert Lawrence White, 412 of 46
3. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 3 of 46
4. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 4 of 46
5. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 5 of 46
6. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 6 of 46
7. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 7 of 46
8. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 8 of 46
9. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 9 of 46
10. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 10 of 46
11. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 11 of 46
12. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 12 of 46
13. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 13 of 46
14. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 14 of 46
15. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 15 of 46
16. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 16 of 46
17. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 17 of 46
18. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 18 of 46
19. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 19 of 46
20. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 20 of 46
21. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 21 of 46
22. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 22 of 46
23. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 23 of 46
24. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 24 of 46
25. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 25 of 46
26. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 26 of 46
27. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 27 of 46
28. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 28 of 46
29. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 29 of 46
30. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 30 of 46
31. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 31 of 46
32. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 32 of 46
33. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 33 of 46
34. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 34 of 46
35. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 35 of 46
36. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 36 of 46
37. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 37 of 46
38. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 38 of 46
39. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 39 of 46
40. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 40 of 46
41. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 41 of 46
42. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 42 of 46
43. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 43 of 46
44. Stephon Clark, 2244 of 46
45. Danny Ray Thomas, 3445 of 46
46. DeJuan Guillory, 2746 of 46
Amadou Diallo Foundation Hosts Benefit Gala On Anniversary Of His Death was originally published on newsone.com