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.”
47 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Botham Shem Jean, 261 of 47
2. Antwon Rose Jr., 172 of 47
3. Robert Lawrence White, 413 of 47
4. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 4 of 47
5. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 5 of 47
6. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 6 of 47
7. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 7 of 47
8. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 8 of 47
9. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 9 of 47
10. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 10 of 47
11. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 11 of 47
12. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 12 of 47
13. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 13 of 47
14. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 14 of 47
15. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 15 of 47
16. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 16 of 47
17. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 17 of 47
18. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 18 of 47
19. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 19 of 47
20. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 20 of 47
21. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 21 of 47
22. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 22 of 47
23. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 23 of 47
24. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 24 of 47
25. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 25 of 47
26. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 26 of 47
27. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 27 of 47
28. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 28 of 47
29. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 29 of 47
30. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 30 of 47
31. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 31 of 47
32. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 32 of 47
33. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 33 of 47
34. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 34 of 47
35. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 35 of 47
36. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 36 of 47
37. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 37 of 47
38. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 38 of 47
39. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 39 of 47
40. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 40 of 47
41. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 41 of 47
42. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 42 of 47
43. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 43 of 47
44. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 44 of 47
45. Stephon Clark, 2245 of 47
46. Danny Ray Thomas, 3446 of 47
47. DeJuan Guillory, 2747 of 47
Amadou Diallo Foundation Hosts Benefit Gala On Anniversary Of His Death was originally published on newsone.com