Community gathers to remember Civil Rights Activist, Fred Prejean in downtown Lafayette

Posted at 10:21 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 07:36:47-05

Many in Lafayette honored the life and legacy of a civil rights icon.

Wednesday night's vigil in downtown Lafayette was held in memory of Fred Prejean, who died last week at the age of 76.

The location of the vigil was an important reminder of what Prejean was able to accomplish during his life.

Community members gathered in front of the old city hall in Lafayette, where a confederate monument once stood.

It's a statue Prejean was able to see come down last summer thanks in part to his work with Move the Mindset.

The vigil was a fitting tribute, in a fitting location, to mark Prejean's legacy.

As candles were lit in his memory, those closest to him reflected on the work still to be done.

"We all take the energy that we had in the past and given the energy that we are feeling now, that we will do and move forward and continue to do for Lafayette. To make it a place that respects all people,” said Prejean’s wife, Ola Prejean.

The removal of the Alexander Mouton statue was just the beginning for Move the Mindset.

The group has plans to add civil rights markers across the city.

"I think that we can continue the fight that Fred started because I guarantee you that statue is not the end. That was the beginning," said Move the Mindset Vice President, Francesco Crocco. "Fred will talk to me about where do we go next. We need a vision. We can't lead to stop here. Placing the markers is the next step. We need to do that."

As many gathered to remember the work he accomplished, the vigil served a reminder of gratitude for the lives he was able to touch.

"Because of Fred, lots of new friends were made over the past five or six years and everybody's here to celebrate his life, his work. We are going to miss Fred very much,” said activist, Greg Davis.

"He will surely be missed. He was an icon of our community and when you lose an icon like that's tragic but his legacy continues,” said Prejean's Former Campaign Manager, Suzannah Johnson-Malbreaux.

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