By Susan Fried
Dozens of people took shelter from the pelting rain in the Harborview Medical Center garage on Saturday, February 3 to attend a vigil for DaShawn Horne, who was recovering in a hospital room above. The small crowd gathered to show support for the 26-year-old and his family.The victim of an alleged hate crime on January 20, Mr. Horne had suffered an unprovoked brutal attack by a man with an aluminum baseball bat. The attacker was reported to have called DaShawn the n-word and was described by a witness as saying, “This is what happens when you bring black people around here.” The suspect, Julian Tuimauga, told police he attacked Mr. Horne because he believed the victim had had sex with his sister.
Mr. Horne, the father of a 16-month-old boy, remains unconscious but is showing signs of improvement.
The vigil was organized by several members of the Church community who wanted to show people cared and wanted to help. The Reverend Kelle Brown with Plymouth UCC, one of the organizers of the vigil along with Nathan Michael Black and the Reverend Bianca Davis-Lovelace, talked about the strength of DaShawn’s family in the face of such hate.
“We will not take one more instance of violence. We are here today to say that we are here for love, that we are here together, that there are people of every hue, of every ethnicity, of every culture in this place, and that we can exist together, and that small-mindedness will not be tolerated. So I thank you for being here tonight, for letting your light shine even in this darkness, even in this rain. A and thank you for being here to support this family that needs to know that there are people, good people in this world like you, and that they don’t have to be afraid to walk around in this world anymore, and that you will stand up and you will make calls, and you will do what you must do to change the climate of this world,” she said.
The Reverend Bianca Davis-Lovelace with the United Church of Christ’s Justice and Witness Committee recited an adapted litany entitled, “Black Lives Matter: A Litany by Bishop Adam J. Richardson,” which included the lines, “Today we gather to denounce any narrative that seeks to discredit or mischaracterize DaShawn Horne. We will not allow anyone to justify such a heinous or evil act against another human being. We will call this act what it is … a hate crime. A crime against another person because of the color of their skin. Today we gather to remind the world that Black Lives Matter! Black families are tired of visiting hospitals or preparing for funerals because someone thought their loved one’s life did not matter.”
The Reverend Davis-Lovelace, like Reverend Brown, emphasized how love is much stronger than hate and that as long as good people stand up, justice will prevail.
Michael Ramos, the Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, spoke about the importance of the church showing support to the Horne family and DaShawn. “His [DaShawn’s] life matters. Black Lives Matter. We say that racism must be eradicated and that all heinous acts and all crimes of hatred must be challenged, must be denounced and must end in our society beginning here in this Puget Sound region, which sometimes speaks the word of ending racism but does not act to confront racism. So today, let us make a difference. By being here we are a difference.” He continued by saying that, first and foremost, those gathered outside the hospital where DaShawn was recovering were there for him and his family and would continue to be there during his long recovery and until justice is served.
DaShawn’s mother, LaDonna Horne, spoke briefly, thanking the crowd for their support. She described how difficult it was for her to see her son lying in a hospital bed and how it had been really hard to allow a photograph of DaShawn to be published in the Seattle Times, but she felt it was important for people to see what hate looked like. She expressed her appreciation for the kindness people had shown to her family and said that it had helped her stay strong. She said she had faith that DaShawn would recover and that ultimately love would prove more powerful than hate.
DaShawn’s Uncle Rodney King talked about how important DaShawn was to the rest of the family and how he could not believe this could have happened to someone like his nephew. He also thanked the crowd for their love and support.
On Monday, February 5, the suspect Julian Tuimauga was arraigned at the regional justice center in Kent. DaShawn has a long recovery ahead of him. If you would like to help the family, there is a Go Fund Me page set up to help pay medical expenses, replace his lost wages, and help support his young son. https://www.gofundme.com/dashawnhorne