Vigil held at Point State Park for those who have passed away inside the Allegheny County Jail | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Vigil held at Point State Park for those who have passed away inside the Allegheny County Jail

click to enlarge A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail was held at Point State Park on Sun., April 19. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail was held at Point State Park on Sun., April 19.
This evening, about 16 people met at Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh to hold a vigil to extend their grief for inmates who have died in the Allegheny County Jail.

Pittsburgh City Paper photographer Jared Wickerham documented the vigil in photographs, but attendees held a solemn vigil and were not taking questions from reporters.
click to enlarge A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail
Over the last few years, inmate suicides have plagued the jail. Between 2015 and early 2019, there were seven inmates lives lost to suicide. On April 11 of this year, an inmate named Richard D. Lenhart passed away while in the jail. County officials said the death did not appear to be COVID-19 related.

Tonight's vigil was organized by a coalition of advocacy groups including 1Hood Media, Bukit Bail Fund, Jailbreak, and Radical Youth Collective.


"We intend to hold and make space to commemorate lives lost at the Allegheny County Jail, as evidenced by the death of Mr. Richard Lenhart last weekend," read a joint statement from the coalition. "He was only 49 years old. His death is not the first this year at ACJ. It is only April."
click to enlarge A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail
The vigil was organized to "remember that slowness and dis/quiet, especially collectively, is beautiful and radical," according to the statement. Social distancing was observed throughout the vigil, and the event was live-streamed online.

Those in attendance read a list of names of inmates who have died while being held at the jail, joined together in song, and ended the vigil by dropping flowers into the Allegheny River.
click to enlarge A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
A vigil for inmates who have died at Allegheny County Jail
"When we take time to grieve communally, we world-build. We are resilient and unwavering in witnessing systemic horror and state violence. This vigil is quiet. It is by water at dusk. ... In these ways and more, we dream and advocate for the abolition of all carceral systems," reads the statement. "We agree when Angela Davis says prisons are obsolete. Remember those who have passed due to death by incarceration in its many forms."

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