Posted on August 14, 2014 at 11:50 PM
NORFOLK-- A moment of silence in a packed room at Old Dominion University was shared by nearly a hundred other groups nationwide in protest of police brutality Thursday evening.
The social media driven vigil picked up steam following the deadly police shooting that left unarmed teenager Michael Brown dead in Ferguson, Missouri.
"It breaks my heart," said Rachael Payton, an ODU senior who organized Norfolk's vigil. "It just lets us know that we've changed as an American culture and as an American society obviously, but there's still a lot of things that are engrained in our culture."
At 7:20 p.m., Payton led the moment of silence as did nearly a hundred other groups New York to California.
"This is a race issue, nobody wants to say it is a race issue, but it is a race issue," said Nicholas Cole-Giscombe.
The young Norfolk man shared a story with the group about fearing for his safety after getting profiled by police outside his Ghent home.
Others attendants at Norfolk's vigil shared similar concerns about what they view is an increasingly militarized police force in the U.S., and excessive force against minorities.
Organizers and participants with the movement say they are planning future events to keep the momentum going.
One initiative is circulating a petition
for officers in the St. Louis area, where Brown died, wear body cameras.
"This is a step, but it is a small step and it is the first step," Cole-Giscombe said.