Vigil honors Osaze Osagie, pushes for mental health reform in Pa.
Protestors calling for reform outside Allen Street Gates. (Evan Beebe/WPSU)
(State College) — Community activists held a vigil last night in front of the Allen Street gates to remember Osaze Osagie, a State College resident who was fatally shot by local police on March 20th.
It’s been over three months since Osagie’s death, yet friends and community activists have remained persistent in their efforts to make changes to the state’s mental health procedures. One of Osagie’s closest friends, Yamaya Abdul Cunningham, said there are several revisions the state should consider.
“For one, police should not be involved when it comes to mental health. I think we need more people in the mental health field — counselors, workers, medications, psychiatrists, people who are checking in on him — because not only did the mental health fail him but the police did,” Cunningham said.
Osaze Osagie, a 29-year-old State College man, was fatally shot by police on March 20, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Osagie family)
Melanie Morrison is one of the founders of the 3.20 coalition, a group created after Osagie’s death that aims to create change and protect minorities in the State College community.
Morrison said the coalition hosted this vigil to keep Osagie and mental health reform on the community’s mind.
“I think the assumption was that putting out the DA report after the students had all left, this would just blow over. That the blanket of Happy Valley would cover this and people would just forget. But it’s not just the students who care, we care as members of the community,” Morrison said.
The coalition will host a forum Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Courthouse Annex in Bellefonte to discuss the state of Centre County Health Services.