A different kind of vigil

Viewfinder

October 01, 2006|By Glenn Fawcett | Glenn Fawcett,SUN STAFF

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, I was assigned to cover a street vigil for a young man who had been shot and killed recently on Cleveland Street. Conducting the vigil would be the Rev. Willie Ray, known in Baltimore for his activism against drugs and violence.

However, for Ray, this was a different sort of vigil. This time, he was to eulogize his great-nephew, George Young, 23.

As I drove up to the site of the vigil on Cross Street that evening, only Ray and a handful of others were there. I began to wonder if there would be a real vigil to cover or just a man on his mission to save lives.

But as the minutes passed, Ray called to the streets and the people came. Soon, there was a small, impromptu crowd gathered around him as he prayed passionately and delivered an animated sermon to those who had gathered to mourn Young's death.

After a while, Ronald Wright joined the group. Less than a day earlier he had lost his son, Devin Wright, 26, also killed in a shooting. Now there were two lost lives to eulogize.

The sun had set and the light became soft and pastel. The wind blew briskly as people in the crowd lit candles, huddled together and prayed. Some candles would blow out, but not for long, as others still lighted were tilted to re-light those extinguished by the wind.

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