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Boston Square Neighbors Hold Healing Circle

patrick lyoya.png
Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack
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Kent Co. Commissioner Womack speaks out against "bad tomatoes" in GRPD killing of Patrick Lyoya

The killing of Patrick Lyoya by Grand Rapids police officer, Christopher Schurr, has caused a resurgence of anxiety and trauma in many communities of color.

Neighbors in Boston Square are working together to heal and find a way forward.

“Always seeing our people being murdered on social media, that’s called secondary trauma.”

Around a dozen community members gathered in the heart of Boston Square on Sunday afternoon for a healing circle.

Meet over here at the round picnic tables and we can share.

The event was hosted by the Boston Square Neighborhood Association and Oakdale Neighbors, as a way to address the trauma communities of color are facing after Patrick Lyoya was killed by a Grand Rapids Police Officer during a traffic stop in their very neighborhood, on the corner of Griggs Street and Nelson avenue.

“It can be so heavy to be a person of color. People take for granted that we are constantly bombarded with aggressions, micro-aggressions, some are very overt some are not, but it wears on a person, and to live in a constant state of crisis and trauma can be heavy. ”

That’s Kimberly Williams. She’s lived in Boston Square for about 24 years and beams as she talks about the neighborhood’s vibrance, but as she mentions its strong resiliency she explains the heaviness that comes with being Black, expected to soldier forward while many still need to heal.

“Because we do push through, people think, ‘okay never mind you’ll get over it,’ but we’re still dealing with trauma though. We can’t just excuse that away.”

Sunday’s gathering featured a community vision board, where residents wrote messages like “Justice for Patrick” and “Racism is a public health crisis.” It also partnered with resilient roots yoga for trauma-informed exercises.

“Just take a deep breath wherever you’re at.”

In a rain down pour, the community stayed locked in their circle of outdoor seats for more than an hour, hearing from all who wished to share feelings of frustration, passion and more as they worked towards healing and the future.