Despite the pouring rain on Thursday afternoon, community members gathered at Clean City Laundry Center in Bushwick to demand justice for Luz Gonzalez, the 4-year-old who died on Sunday after being run over.
The crowd came and built a growing memorial of candles, Disney’s Frozen themed balloons and stuffed animals.
Friends and family members wore white t-shirts with Gonzalez’s school photo. Flowers in the shape of a cross were laid on the sidewalk where she died. The growing crowd prayed the rosary and changed the ending verse of the Hail Mary from ruega por nosotros to ruega por ella y por nosotros. Pray for her and for us.
Carol Reyes, who has lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years, said she saw on television that the community would be holding a vigil for Luz Gonzalez.
“I have kids, they’re not little anymore, but this could have happened to anybody,” she said in Spanish. “As Latinos we have to support each other.”
Reyes also said that she doesn’t want Gonzalez’s family to feel alone, or intimidated as they continue asking for justice for their daughter. And like many other present, she’s upset that the driver hasn’t faced criminal charges.
“There are always kids playing around here, all of us who use this parking lot keep an eye out because we know that, she should have been more careful driving here,” said Reyes.
Francisco Ramirez, a community organizer was life streaming the protest on Facebook.
“Where’s the press, where are the community organizations and the politicians?” he asked in Spanish. “We shouldn’t have to wait for them.”
An organizer with the family told the crowd that according to Guerrero tradition, the state in Mexico where Gonzalez’s family is from, there would be a band playing music in honor of the girl.
Band members also wore t-shirts with Gonzalez’s photo on it. After a few songs in front of the laundromat, they led the march to the 83rd precinct on Knickerbocker Avenue.
As they played music, the crowd chanted “Queremos justicia” or “We want justice” in Spanish.
Organizers chanted and Gonzalez’s mother quietly thanked the crowd while being flanked two supporters. The crowed then began to turn around to walk back to the laundromat on Hart Street- but not before a tense interaction with the police officers outside of the precinct first.
“Why haven’t you arrested the driver,” one woman called out in Spanish.
“It was a hit and run!” another person called out afterwards.
A woman in blue scrubs asked police why such a thing was allowed to happen. She told the crowd that she was also a mother, and hearing about how Gonzalez died broke her heart.
“We got justice for Junior,” she said into the bullhorn, referring to the teenager in the Bronx who was killed after being stabbed multiple times last week. “Now we need justice for Luz.”
There will be another vigil/protest this afternoon at 5 p.m. in front of the Clean City Laundry Center on the corner of Hart Street and Wyckoff Avenue.
Luz Gonzalez’s family members will be there collecting donations, and the Key Food across the street from the laundromat will continue taking donations into this weekend as well.