Religious leaders, public officials come together on Church Street

COME TOGETHER: On June 4, several local religious leaders and city officials came together on Church Street for Prayer in Action: A Gathering of Solidarity for Peace and Justice. Photo by Thomas Calder

With the chiming of church bells behind him, the Rev. John H. Grant, pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, offered opening remarks at the Prayer in Action: A Gathering of Solidarity for Peace and Justice on Church Street June 4.

“We stand in prayer and solidarity against all forms of lawlessness and violence, whether it’s the lawlessness and violence of rioters and looters or the police officers who engage in police brutality such as that recently committed against a black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis,” Grant told the crowd of roughly 250 people.

“We stand in prayer and solidarity in [our] disappointment toward those who are outraged at those who riot and loot but remain silent toward the rioting, looting and public lynching of a black man by police officers in broad daylight,” Grant continued. “It was a public lynching. A lynching is a lynching whether it’s a noose or a knee, as it prevents another human being from breathing.”

Several other local religious leaders and public officials spoke at the event, including the Rev. L.C. Ray, pastor of the WNC Baptist Fellowship Church, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, Buncombe County Commissioner Al Whitesides, Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller and Bishop José McLoughlin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.

“When an officer acts in a way that clearly violates the law, as with the death of Mr. George Floyd, they must be held accountable,” Miller told the audience. “I ask today, please hold us accountable. I ask today, please help us in fixing what’s wrong.”

To accomplish this, the sheriff continued, “we must have people at the table at the beginning, not at the end. … You need to be a part of the solution and the resolution of this.”

Miller concluded his address by reminding the audience that many law enforcement officers were also hurting due to recent events. “Don’t think that all of us are the same, and don’t think that all of us look at [the death of George Floyd] and don’t see the problem with it,” he said. “Don’t think that they don’t have their own personal feelings about what happened. Some of this is us having to be a part of a system, but that’s what has to be addressed: the system. And you have to help us address the system.”

Whitesides echoed Miller’s words about holding officials accountable. “You’ve got to come to us and tell us what’s needed if we’re not doing our job,” he said. “And also, you’ve got to show up at the polls. If we don’t do our job, kick us out and bring new people in.”

The event concluded with a march on Pack Square Park, where the Rev. Robbie J. Williams, assistant pastor of WNC Baptist Fellowship Church, led the crowd in the singing of “He’s an On Time God, Yes He Is.”

That same evening, local religious leaders stood again in solidarity in front of the Asheville Police Department on Pack Square.

 

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist.

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17 thoughts on “Religious leaders, public officials come together on Church Street

    • James

      The organization whose mission it is to ensure women are guaranteed their constitutional rights? I’ll be they’d be proud to be given credit. Thanks Lulz!

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      • Lulz

        LOL can you direct me to the part where it says state sanctioned muder of majority black babies is a right? I thought black lives matter.

        Problem is is that talking out of both sides makes you look fake. And you’re as fake as they come.

        Again lulz, this message brought to you by planned parenthood.LOL.

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      • C-Law

        Black Baby Lives Matter!

        Unless you’re a Marxist, in which case they’re assigned for genocide.

        Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows.

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        • James

          You keep parroting that like it means something. Especially as you and Tweedle Dum above keep shrieking things like 2+2=17. You’re truly bonkers, aren’t you? I hope your philosophy provides for publicly provided mental health services.

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        • Lulz

          LOL you get it. Blacks are treated by these leftist as they always have been, As a means to an end. Black lives only matter insofar that their agenda can progress. Whether it’s at the abortion clinic or the “protests”. Otherwise these white fools will insolate themselves from blacks and expect payoffs via welfare to keep blacks out of their lives per usual. End game is still the same. Collectivist policies via a centralized government. And don’t fool yourself. Black on white violence will be celebrated, go unprosecuted and the whites that do fight back will be labeled as racist. Policing will of course be scaled back, and majority black neighborhoods will mimic the southside of Chicago.

          This James character believes in the Constitution like I believe in unicorns, Next up for the death cult left is to attack the founders and to tear down their statues. Once that becomes the norm, the Constitution itself will be completely trashed. And whites will see their property stolen.

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          • James

            I believe in the 14th amendment for a start. And I’d be shocked if you could describe it much less agree with it. It is one of the ways the Constitution was “transformed” in ways I’m sure you despise. Basically anything that takes away your false sense of superiority you cling to do desperately because the GOP will tell you that you’re better than minorities and women while screwing you over on everything else. But you’ll gladly give it up because you have nothing BUT your ego. And that’s pathetically sad.

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        • NFB

          Marxism is a economic philosophy that does not address social issues like abortion.

          Vehemently anti-Marxist Ayn Rand insisted that a fetus had no rights and supported legal late term abortions

          Marxist/communist Romania largely outlawed abortion during the Ceausecu years, which is way Romanian orphanages were full of unwanted kids into the 90’s.

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          • James

            I see he still has no response to this. Thanks for the facts based response.

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  1. C-Law

    The people in the photos aren’t “social distancing!”

    And they’re mostly “people of color.”

    But, but, but the MtnX article just the other day told us the State of North Carolina was decrying racial disparities in Coronavirus cases and deaths yet those “people of color” in the pictures are willfully ignoring the recommended social distancing! Don’t they know we’re in a “War on Coronavirus”?

    When the state and local Coronavirus positive cases spikes in the next 10-14 days what will the party line be? Coronavirus cases skyrocket due to Racism, or lack of proper social distancing?

    Let me guess…Coronavirus is a genetically modified bioweapon, specifically targeted to attack disproportionately “people of color”, released intentionally by OrangeManBad leading up to the election as a way to suppress minority voting rights?

    /sarc

    Ha, front row seats to the final act of the End of the Yankee Empire.gov (Aggressive Abroad—Despotic at Home), sitting on my back porch enjoying a dram of Glenmorangie and Sharing in the Groove.

    The next 36 months are gonna be real entertaining…

    Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows.

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  2. Concerned Asheville Citizen

    So I guess Covid 19 is over since there were 2500 people in attendance last night in Pack Square. I Love the solidarity but really disappointed in the lack of awareness. Masks are great for casually walking by someone in the store, but not so good for sitting in close proximity with 2500 other people for an extended amount of time. There have been many studies and reports that show wearing a mask alone is not an effective method of filtering out the Covid 19 virus particles, the effectiveness of the mask greatly increases with social distancing practices. I’m sure many in that crowd work in local healthcare facilities and hospitals, now those potential virus carriers are going to go to work and possibly infect many vulnerable people in our community. I hope for the sake of our community that the fact this was held outside will minimize Covid 19s spread. Be safe and smart out there.

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    • James

      I agree. But let’s also be clear there is a difference between taking risks while having a tantrum because you can’t get a haircut or a workout versus expressing legitimate anger at yet another 21st century lynching of a black American. The OpenUp protesters insisted their protests were about tyranny of government and the unfair treatment of people. (Seriously?) The Black Lives Matter protests showed up how shallow and childish the OpenUp protests were.

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      • Lulz

        LOL didn’t see buildings boarded up before. Now I do. Guess they showed me lulz.

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        • James

          Let me guess, after the Boston Tea Party your ancestors shrieked about the destroyed tea completely missing THAT point as well…. lulz. There have always been people in America consistently on the wrong side of history. Having people like you post here serves a dual purpose. It makes us feel good knowing we’re decent people and reminds us how much work there is to be done because people like you are still out there and one more outrage away from driving a moving van full of fertilizer into a government building. “lulz”

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          • Lulz

            LOL I’m 1st generation American. Funny how immigrants can make.it but people born here can’t. Must go back to ethics and a sense of self worth.

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          • James

            Are you suggesting you lack ethics and self worth and that’s why you can’t make it? I doubt that’s what you mean based on your other posts so I thought I’d see if we can give you the benefit of the doubt.

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