Downtown Detroit to be lit in purple honoring George Floyd and victims of violence and police brutality

  • Councilmember Raquel Castañeda López asks Detroiters to participate in Sunday night vigil

Starting tonight, the buildings of downtown Detroit will be lit purple in honor of George Floyd and all those whose lives were tragically cut short by injustice, violence and police brutality.

The effort will begin tonight, following the memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis, through June 9, the day of George Floyd’s funeral in Houston. Councilmember Raquel Castañeda López is also asking Detroiters to hold a silent vigil in front of their homes on Sunday, June 7 at 8 p.m.

The effort is spearheaded by Councilmember Castañeda López, Mayor Mike Duggan and Cynthia Pasky, Strategic Staffing Solutions CEO and Chair of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, with strong support from Detroit City Council.

“The idea to light the city and host a citywide vigil came to me in recognition of the deep pain and brokenness we are all feeling, especially our black community, in light of George Floyd’s murder,” Castañeda López said. “Too many black and brown lives have been lost to violence and police brutality, perpetuating the trauma these communities have experienced for generations."

“Though symbolic in nature, we must honor their lives and create a space, through vigil, for us to collectively grieve as a city," said Castañeda López. "I am grateful to have the support of my colleagues, the Mayor, and DDP in lighting the city purple and making space for a citywide vigil to remember and mourn.”

“Thousands of Detroiters have taken a stand and called for justice in the murder of George Floyd and an end to the police brutality and violence that has plagued our country for far too long,” Mayor Duggan said. “Cities around the world have chosen the color purple as a symbol of the struggle against injustice and oppression. Detroit will join the chorus of cities using its buildings as monuments in this movement."

The Mayor said, “I thank CM Castañeda López for presenting this idea, Detroit City Council for its support, and Cindy Pasky for leading our corporate community in this effort and never shying away from taking a strong stance.”

"There is no place for racism and injustice - in Detroit or any place in our world. Every life has value and every citizen has a duty to reject hatred in every form," Pasky said. "As our hearts break for George Floyd and his family, we're lighting Detroit purple tonight and for many nights to honor his life, and call for peace and justice."

Council President Brenda Jones said, “The symbolic lighting of our downtown area using the color purple illustrates Detroit’s hope for peace and justice in the memory of George Floyd. We pray that the international demonstration of outrage and call for sweeping reforms will lead to critical changes in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems.”

Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield, who has also been on the front lines calling for change, expressed her full support. “In the light of darkness, one beam of light creates the dawn of a new day. George Floyd’s murder represents another dark time in the history of America, but the light his death has shined on America’s problem with racism and police brutality is setting the table for change across the globe. So as he in death is enlightening the world, I am proud to join my colleague Councilmember Raquel Castañeda López, along with Mayor Duggan, in calling for businesses to illuminate their buildings with purple light in honor of George Floyd. He shall forever live in our hearts!”

To participate in the vigil, Detroiters are asked to come out on their porches or in front of their homes June 7 at 8 p.m. with a lit candle, flashlight, or turn on their porch light and stand silently for 9 minutes in honor of George Floyd. Everyone is encouraged to invite their neighbors and friends to participate and share this vigil on social media.


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Mariana Martinez 
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