GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens from the African community in Grand Rapids gathered on Sunday in honor of Patrick Lyoya.
A Glimpse of Africa hosted an event on the southeast side where people could collectively process the shooting together.
Lyoya’s parents spoke briefly, thanking the community for their support during this difficult time.
Several city and county leaders were there, including Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom.
Bliss said there’s work the city has to do internally and with the community, but she’s confident they have already started that work.
Winstrom said this has been a learning experience. He went on to say he released information as soon as he thought he could. He said going forward getting information out to the public sooner will be a top priority.
“I want to hear what they have to say. I want to work with them. After this meeting quite a few people actually approached me and said, ‘Hey is there room for us to come to the police station and share ideas that we have or is there a role for us in training perhaps,'” Winsrom said. “I got a lot of contact information and that’s the sort of thing I’d like to do moving forward.”
“I shouldn’t have to be scared of losing my life here in America when I was promised a better life.” — African refugee community members are expressing their concerns and grief to city officials and other attendees. — @WOODTV pic.twitter.com/dzdQHy54iT— Brennan Prill (@WxBrenn) May 1, 2022
Several refugees and members of the African community also took the floor to share how they feel about the shooting. The conversation became tense at times.
Many said they’re disappointed to have this happen after escaping war-torn countries. They say there needs to be change in city and police policy.
“This could happen to any one of us. When I saw Patrick being shot in that video, I thought of myself. As a female, Black African immigrant, it could have been me. It could have been my friend, it could have been my brothers or sisters,” said Fridah Kahini, the founder of a Glimpse of Africa.