Lauren Giddings Washington Park memorial

There is a new bench in Washington Park. You’ll be able to spot it clearly the next time you go: it’s bright pink, curvy and metallic whereas the other park benches are carved from gray stone.
Unless the winds have blown them away, there are still bouquets of flowers laid upon the seat.
The bench is for Lauren Giddings, the Mercer Law student who was found slain a little over a year ago.
Friends and family gathered in Washington Park on Saturday, Aug. 25, to celebrate Giddings’ life and memory in a Second Sunday-style event in one of Giddings’ favorite spots in the city.
Those who knew Giddings initiated the planning and execution of the event, including donating all of the needed amenities.
Sarah Gerwig-Moore, who taught Giddings in class at the law school, said, “We wanted to find a way to honor her [Giddings] without focusing on what happened to her—not how she died but who she was.”
People picnicked and kids tumbled around in the grass as background music from the stage speakers filled the warm August evening.
All of the music was chosen by Giddings’ loved ones to include her favorite songs. Many people showed up wearing pink, Giddings’ favorite color.
Two bands played at the celebration: Sue and the Bastards, a faculty group from the law school which included Gerwig-Moore; and Sterling Weight and the Cotton Avenue Hustlers, made up of friends of Giddings.
“It’s all Lauren all the time,” said Lindsey Curcio, one of Giddings’ friends and classmates.
Gerwig-Moore estimated that between 350-400 people showed up to the celebration by the end of the night.
Some of them traveled great distances to attend the celebration. Giddings’ family came down from Maryland, and Curcio traveled from North Carolina.
“I don’t think this has happened since we lost her, having everyone together like this,” Curcio said.
At 8 p.m., the gatherers convened around the bench for the dedication ceremony.
The architect of the bench, Scott Tisdale, explained his reasoning for the bench: pink for Giddings’ favorite color, curves for her femininity and metal for her strength. Father David Kwiatkowski of Macon’s Saint Joseph Catholic Church offered up a blessing of the bench.
Giddings’ family was unavailable for comment, but her sister Sarah told a Telegraph reporter, “I know Lauren would have been happy to have something like this done.”
Curcio shared a few stories with the Cluster in honor of Giddings’ memory.
She said that one of the clearest things she remembered about Giddings was her “infectious laughter.”
“She had a way of making the most boring, unpleasant situation you’ve ever been in into one of the most fun things you’ve ever done,” Curcio said.
Curcio said that her dog, Zooey, used to be adept at escaping the yard and that more often than not, Giddings would be the one to find her. Giddings would keep Zooey with her own dog, Butterbean, until she could return Zooey to Curcio.
“She was important to Zooey too,” Curcio said.
“She was important to everybody. You only had to meet her once.”
The spirit of Lauren Giddings will be in the minds of her loved ones for many years to come.