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Interfaith Prayer Rally

On Monday, August 14th, we received an email in the early afternoon letting us know that an Interfaith Prayer Rally would be taking place at 5:30pm on the steps of Cleveland City Hall in order to address the violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday involving white nationalists that resulted in the death of one person and the injury of nineteen others. This rally was put together by Bishop Tony Minor of the "Community of Faith" and its theme was "Not on Our Watch, Not in Our Town" and its message was that racism and bigotry in any form must no longer be tolerated and that it is our role as Clevelanders and U.S. citizens to speak out peacefully but forcefully against it whenever and in any form that it occurs whether it be physical acts or verbal insults.

One of the speakers on this day was Rev. Doug Horner of "St. Paul's Community Church" who was actually there in Charlottesville when the trouble took place. Rev. Horner said that he did witness many "debates and dialogues" which some considered "hateful" but he believed were hopeful because it represented "democracy in action."

Other speakers were Rabbi Richard A. Block of "Temple-Tifereth Israel"; Rev. John C. Dorhauer of "United Church of Christ"; Rabbi Allison Van of "Suburban Temple"; Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of "Fairmount Temple"; Bishop Larry Macon of "Mt. Zion of Oakwood Village"; Ms. Marsha A. Mockabee, President and CEO of the "Urban League of Greater Cleveland"; Imam Khalid Samad of "Peace in the Hood"; Imam Paul Hasan of "Interfaith Ministries of Lorain County"; Ms. Julia Shearson, Executive Director of the Cleveland Chapter of "CAIR Ohio"; Rev. Ken Chalker of "University United Methodist Church"; and Bishop Eugene Ward of "Greater Love Baptist Church".

Most of the speakers believed that the incendiary social climate was at least partially due to the controversial statements, comments, and actions of those associated with the Trump administration. In fact, several of the speakers also mentioned that the LGBT and particularly immigrants were often currently viewed with intense hostility; Ms. Shearson said that if Emma Lazarus were alive today she would be sounding alarms.

We were grateful to Bishop Macon for giving us a copy of his statement which beautifully summed up what everyone was thinking and feeling. In part, it read:

" ...I'd like to say that I am both disappointed, ashamed and saddened for our Nation in what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. I thought I knew who were, not only as a people but also as a Nation, and I was just so sure that good-willed voices of this nation would stand up immediately, without apprehension or qualifying their denouncing of racial prejudice. Let me also add, that We, 'United Pastors in Mission' do not see any White Nationalist group as good-willed because they are a 'Hate Group' that promotes 'Hate Crimes' that translates into 'Hate Actions' to which the young man who plowed his car into that group of people in Charlottesville did, the other day, by turning it, the vehicle into a 'Weapon of Mass Destruction' and turning himself into a Terrorist! People not only in that location were terrified but the terror has reached this city of Greater Cleveland. And, lastly, I think as so many are saying, 'this is not who we are' as a nation, or as a people, and I'm hoping that we soon 'Find Ourselves' because it does say that we have 'Lost Ourselves' with too many of these kinds of devastating events happening in America. We can do so, by changing our hearts toward each other, and beginning to reassess who the real enemy may be and conclude that we have bigger issues outside of our borders, with nuclear threats rather and the likes, than allowing ourselves to get involved in 'ancient and archaic concerns over who ought to be better or lesser than who in this nation. I close by challenging all of us with these words, 'LET'S ALL GO TO CHURCH' on this one."

 

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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