Unity March Honors the Memory of Kiwane Carrington

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Several hundred people came out to the
Unity March on October 9, 2010, marking
a year to the day since Kiwane Carrington
was killed by a Champaign police
officer. In the face of recent news reports
about supposed racial attacks, this year’s
event stressed the need for unity. The
large turn out was a sign that people desire a community
free from police violence and media sensationalism.
The march began at 906 W. Vine St. in Champaign, the
house where Kiwane Carrington was approached by Police
Chief R.T. Finney and Officer Daniel Norbits as he and a
friend were trying to find a respite from the rain. October
9, 2010, however, was a warm, sunny day—a perfect day
for a march. On the steps of the house, Nick Elam sang the
Boys-2-Men song, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye,” before a
solemn crowd.
Surprisingly, Mike Sola, former WILL-580 weatherman
and victim of an attack who has recently been featured in
the media, showed up at the Unity March. He addressed
the crowd saying that what was needed was not division,
but unity to address the root problems in our community.
The march kicked off by going up Prospect Avenue,
turning down Bradley Avenue, and passing through the
black community. Everyone still remembered what happened
a year ago and as they heard the chanting “Honor
Kiwane!” many of them joined into the march. Soon, a
long line of marchers lined Bradley.
The march ended at the Randolph Street community
garden, run by Mother Dawn Blackman. As the large
crowd entered the park, music blasted out of the Hip Hop
Express, an airstream trailer converted into a sound system
by Dr. Will Patterson, professor in the Afro-American
Studies Department.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., the time of Kiwane’s death,
two fruit trees were planted in his memory. Albert Carrington,
Kiwane’s father, was there to help lower the trees into
the earth and cover them with soil.
The Unity March ended with a free lunch in the park.
Organized by Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and
Justice, the march was co-sponsored by the Ministerial
Alliance, NAACP, Graduate Employees’ Organization
(GEO), and received a donation from the Common
Ground Food Co-op.

About Brian Dolinar

Brian Dolinar has been a community journalist since 2004.
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