Friends and Family Gather to Honor One-Year Anniversary of Charleena Lyles’ Death

by Susan Fried (words and photos)

Monday saw hundreds of Family, friends, and community members gather to honor the one-year anniversary of the death of Charleena Lyles at Magnuson Park, just across the street from the apartment complex where the mother of 4 was shot 7 times by 2 Seattle Police officers last June.

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Charleena Lyles son Zy’ontae Camphor pops a bubble at Monday’s celebration.
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Kids race each other in pillow cases.
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A young community member with a freshly painted face.

Billed The Charleena Lyles One Year Remembrance, Reflection and Healing celebration, the program included brief speeches by professional football player Michael Bennett, Garfield High School teacher Jessie Hagopian, spoken word by Nikkita Oliver and Nakeya Isabell.  

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Poet Nakeya Isabell performs.
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Jesse Hagopian leftt) speaks with former Seahawk Michael Bennett (center).

Although there were predictably somber moments, the day was dedicated to celebrating the life of Lyles and the children she left behind. This was underscored by the array of performances, food and kids games including pillow case races.

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Andre Taylor dances during Monday’s celebration.

As the evening wound down, Andre Taylor, activist, and founder of police reform advocacy group Not This Time invited his wife on stage to dance and encouraged the crowd to join them.  The event ended with the release of lanterns into the sky, many with messages to Charleena written on them.

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Community members dance during Monday’s celebration
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Family members prep lanterns to be released at Monday’s celebration.
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A lantern floats through the air at Monday’s celebration.
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A community member releases a lantern toward the sky.