Tawanda Jones and Aunt Diane of the West Coalition collaborated with Circles of Voices in February 2017 to bring to light the realities that families experience as a result of police brutality and learn of their strength and continued resilience.
The family of Tyrone West founded the West Coalition following his brutal murder by Baltimore police on July 18, 2013 during a traffic stop. Shortly after his death, the West Coalition formed West Wednesdays, weekly gatherings that bring together Tyrone’s family, activists, and allies to protest excessive police violence, to find justice for victims of police brutality. For more than 180 weeks, rain or shine, Tawanda Jones and Aunt Diane have shared stories of Tyrone while supporters stand in solidarity.
Although Tyrone’s physical life was ended in 2013, his story continues through West Wednesdays; a different chapter began the day he was killed. It has been more than three years and his story continues to bring hundreds of people together from various silos in Baltimore. The West Coalition and West Wednesdays are a demonstration of profoundly impactful activism. They inspire people to stand with one another, and it gives Baltimore residents a way to contribute to making our city better. There is no other family quite like the West family.
Tyrone is more than the 20-30 minutes that it took Baltimore Police to brutally murder him. He was an artist, a father, a son. He is more than a hashtag and a body bag, more than a statistic of a black man unnecessarily killed by police across the United States.
The West Coalition is committed to honoring the totality of Tyrone’s life, and others who have fallen victim to homicidal police. Even in death, he is still deeply loved by his family. He has not been forgotten; in fact his name has been elevated because the West Coalition exists. As Tawanda regularly chants, “We can’t stop. We won’t stop, until killer cops are in cell blocks.