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Lock Arms for Peace holds first in-person vigil since the start of the pandemic

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Since there are so many unsolved murders in our little City of Providence, I, and Moms Demand Action, have decided we are going to start our campaign for the unsolved murders with Essence…


As part of her commitment to hold her semi-monthly Lock Arms for Peace rallies in places other than South Providence, event founder Diana Garlington held a small vigil in the Chad Brown section of Providence. It has been, as far as UpriseRI can tell, about 11 months since the last vigil, and the first since the start of the pandemic, though Lock Arms for Peace did have an online event at some point.

Seven people attended the event, which is supported by Moms Demand Action. Garlington picked up on a theme she talked about at the last public event, working to solve the unsolved murders in Providence. On November 26, 2011, Garlington’s 21 year-old daughter, Essence Tyler Crystal, was murdered at the age of 21.

Diana Garlington

“Since there are so many unsolved murders in our little City of Providence, I, and Moms Demand Action, have decided we are going to start our campaign for the unsolved murders with Essence. We’ve reached out the the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office and the Chief of the Providence police. Our next step is to continue to create awareness. We hope to begin our campaign with Essence, and then continue on to the rest of the unsolved murders,” said Diana Garlington, who organizes the Lock Arms for Peace protests.

Garlington has also written a book.

“I chose to write She Wasn’t the One because there were so many people in the community that were telling me that they knew what happened, they knew what was going on, but much of this is new evidence, since Essence’s case was left in a filing cabinet labelled as a cold case,” said Garlington. “In that book I decided I was going to divulge a lot of information that was given to me in regards to Essence’s murder. So we’re going to keep going with Lock Arms for Peace, but we’re also going to begin a campaign for unsolved murders.”


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The pink bands used to allow those attending to both lock arms and stay socially distant were created by Giovanna Rodriguez. The bands are pink, Essence’s favorite color. The ribbons, said Rodriguez, “symbolize that despite the pandemic, we are still united – We can’t lock arms, but we are still together.”

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com