PHOTOS: Tacoma community gathers for Father's Day celebration honoring Manuel Ellis | KNKX

PHOTOS: Tacoma community gathers for Father's Day celebration honoring Manuel Ellis

Jun 22, 2020

“You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.”

Those were the words printed on dozens of balloons that were released into the air in downtown Tacoma on Father’s Day, during an event honoring Manuel Ellis.  

Ellis was killed in Tacoma police custody on March 3. His death, which was ruled a homicide and has culminated in a state-led investigation, has become a local symbol of protests against police brutality that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

But Sunday wasn’t focused on how Ellis died. It was focused on celebrating the life of the musician and father of two.

Ellis’ family gathered alongside activists and Tacoma residents for a lively block party at Go Philly, which provided free food for the event. People danced in the streets, and some speakers called for city leaders to defund the Tacoma Police Department, which had officers on scene to block traffic for the celebration.

KNKX’s Parker Miles Blohm attended Sunday’s event and captured the scenes below.

Family and friends of Manuel Ellis gathered Sunday to release balloons and dance in the street as part of a celebration of life for the late father of two.
Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The balloons read “You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.”
Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The event took place at Go Philly in downtown Tacoma. The restaurant provided free food for attendees.
Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The event focused primarily on celebrating Manuel Ellis' life. Some speakers talked of defunding Tacoma police.
Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The event was a lively block party, with attendees dancing in the street and remembering Manuel Ellis joyfully.
Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Tacoma Action Collective, who helped organize the event, tweeted a video of people dancing in honor of Manuel Ellis. "We love Black people more than we hate white supremacy. In times of rage and grief, we still find time for joy. Despite the many challenges we're up against, we still find it in us to celebrate Black life."
Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX