Saymendy Lloyd, a friend of Duncan’s fiancée, said she organized the event as a way to recognize “the pain and suffering Eric went through.”
The fiancée, who has remained out of sight since her release from quarantine Monday, did not attend the rally. But her daughter Youngor Jallah did. In keeping with the night’s theme, Jallah said nothing to reporters who lighted the grass with floodlights.
The protesters hunched on the ground to scrawl signs — “Eric Duncan is a human,” “This is where he came without his family seeing him,” “Why no phone call? Why Why Why.” And for most of an hour — as security watched but did not interfere — most kept their vow of silence.
A friend of Jallah’s spoke first. Janet Bright asked a herd of cameras to stop showing Duncan’s photo on TV.
Then Oliver Smallwood, Duncan’s nephew who also was recently released from quarantine, addressed reporters: “We’re not hoping to accomplish anything. We’re trying to get the message across that we’re all human.”
As Smallwood spoke, a woman behind him broke the silence for good. “How could you not save a soul if you have all the power in the world to help a person?” she screamed. “I’m hurt! I’m hurt!”
From then on, as the light faded and mosquitoes swarmed, those who remembered Duncan filled the night with sound — prayers, songs and pleas that he be remembered as more than the carrier of a deadly disease.