By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer
HUDSON — Wearing masks and T-shirts emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter,” about a dozen Hudson residents gathered Sunday afternoon in front of Town Hall to hold a peaceful vigil for Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man fatally shot by a police officer nearly 1,400 miles away in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
The group talked with each other as their kids played together in the grass, rolling down the Town Hall’s hill.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m., they gathered together in a circle for a moment of silence.
“I think people need to look in their hearts and decide whether they want to stand up and make a statement and be counted in this time in our country for equity and black lives,” said Tina Grosowsky, who organized the vigil.
Grosowsky is a member of the Hudson Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which was founded last fall.
She said that the committee was not sponsoring the vigil, though it did share a link to the event on its Facebook page.
“I just said that I’m going to come and stand and, if others wanted to come and join, they’re obviously going to decide for themselves,” Grosowsky said.
Grosowsky had seen that other communities were having similar vigils. Bringing the effort home to Hudson, she chose Town Hall as it is a central gathering space in Hudson that hosted other vigils rallies as recently as last summer during the height of national Black Lives Matter protests.
This week, Grosowsky held a sign that read: “Black Lives Matter,” “Duante Wright’s life matters” and “Duante Wright should be ALIVE!”
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Wright was pulled over in Brooklyn Center on April 11. While doing a records check, police learned that Wright had a warrant. USA Today reported that Wright had been charged in March with possession of a pistol without a permit and fleeing a police officer, and in April, a warrant was issued for his arrest after he didn’t appear at a hearing. According to USA Today, that warrant had been active at the time of his death.
One officer told him he was being arrested for the warrant, and Wright pulled away to get back in the car. Body camera footage reportedly shows Officer Kimberly Potter saying, “Taser, Taser, Taser” before shooting Wright with her handgun. She has resigned from her job and been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
“I think police need to be better trained to understand their own feelings in the moment so that they can better manage their decision-making in moments of stress on the job. It’s obvious so many police people are not being able to manage their decision-making,” Grosowsky said.
While Grosowsky began the vigil alone, she was eventually joined by a total of 14 adults and children, including Angela Frank who brought her kids, Violet and Otto.
Frank said she brought her kids to teach them that racial injustice is not O.K.
“We have the privilege as white people of [deciding] when to educate our kids on racism,” Frank said. “…People of color don’t have that privilege because, from the day that kids of color are born, they’re born into a racist system.”
School Committee candidate Molly MacKenzie and Select Board candidate Shawn Sadowski were also at the vigil, though both said they were there as private citizens, not as candidates.
Sadowski said he wanted to hear from members of the community about what the issues are and how fix them, such as with social service training for police officers and community outreach.
“This isn’t about me running,” he said. “This is about the issue here. … If that does happen and I’m lucky enough to be elected, those are conversations that will be started. Not want to be. They will be started.”
MacKenzie said she has been watching the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged in the death of George Floyd, which she called “heartbreaking” and “infuriating.”
“People don’t realize that these things that happen in other places, it’s not other places. It’s our country. It’s everywhere. It’s systemic,” MacKenzie said.
As they stood in front of Town Hall, some people honked and waved in support.
When asked what she hoped passers-by took away from the vigil, Grosowsky said, “There are some people in Hudson that care about this issue and that are willing to take some time on a Sunday to stand and draw attention to that fact.”