About 70 people gathered in the Shaw neighborhood Saturday night to remember VonDerrit Myers Jr., an African-American teen shot and killed by an off-duty St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer on Oct. 8.
“I love it… the support to let us know we are not by ourselves,” said his mother Syreeta Myers.
At about 6 p.m., family members and supporters gathered at VonDerrit Jr.’s memorial site at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Klemm Street. They then marched down to Flora Place, the neighborhood that the officer was hired to patrol as a security guard on the night he shot VonDerrit Jr.
They chanted, “Whose block? Droop’s block.” Droop – VonDerrit Jr.’s nickname – is also the name of the sandwich that VonDerrit purchased at the corner store with his two friends, moments before the officer followed him for looking suspicious.
They walked down Grand Boulevard and then back down Shaw. Police did not trail or intervene during the march. However, several police cars were parked along streets nearby, including about four cars on Russell Boulevard near Grand.
“We always want peaceful protests only,” Syreeta said. “These people in this community didn’t do anything to us. We don’t want their properties tore up. We just want to be heard.”
Some residents came out of their homes to watch the march.
After the march, VonDerrit Sr. spoke about his appreciation for all the support and how the movement has brought together a diverse cross-section of people. It’s not a “black versus white” thing, he said.
Punctuating his words, VonDerrit Sr. greeted a group of 10 Palestinians college students, who are in the country for two weeks to give presentations on the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
“Thank you for coming,” he told them, as both he and Syreeta hugged them.
Dina Jaber, a student at Birziet University in Palestine, said VonDerrit’s shooting was “very similar to our situation. People are oppressed. We need something to connect the oppressed people. I felt like I am home.”
Johnetta Elzie, a 25-year-old protestor who publishes a newsletter on the Ferguson movement with activist Deray McKesson, said it’s has been a month since the shooting in Shaw.
“It’s just a reminder,” she said. “No one has forgotten.”