Elijah McClain was a 23-year-old man who lived in Aurora, Colorado, and he volunteered at an animal shelter, where he played violin for cats. He was stopped by police while walking home one evening in August 2019 and died in their custody. His death has become part of the Black Lives Matter movement and protesting racism and police brutality in the summer of 2020.
Because Elijah was a violinist, playing the violin has become part of the way people are celebrating his life during these protests. Black string players, especially, have led community performances that bring together many musicians not only in Colorado but also Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York City for quiet and reflective gatherings.
Here is a video of a vigil that took place in Washington Square Park on June 29, 2020, led by violinist Sean Bennett: