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Pastor, police prayer vigil sees strong turnout

Sunday afternoon, a high turnout of citizens, law enforcement and local pastors gathered for a vigil at Bloch Park.

The vigil, organized by local pastors and law enforcement, what held to prompt the community to gather and pray for healing from racism and violence within the Selma community and across the nation in the wake of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

The crowd at Bloch Park Sunday afternoon reached well over 100 people, with many gathered in a circle, spaced apart from one another to socially distance, around a podium where local pastors delivered words and prayers. Many more clustered together outside the circle and others listened from their vehicles. At the center of the circle, local law enforcement was represented by Selma Chief of Police Kenta Fulford, Dallas County Sheriff Mike Granthum and Alabama State Trooper Post Commander Donald Shepard, Jr.

“We are forced, yet again, to face an old reality. A reality that is so brutal and so disturbing that we not only shut our eyes to it, but we remain silent to it. A reality that has for hundreds of years threatened what Lincoln described as unalienable rights, rights that cannot be taken away from us, and that is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said New Macedonia Baptist Church Pastor Jonathan Shanks. “As we witness the inhumane, unjustified killing of George Floyd we again witness expressed anger and outrage from protesters over the infringement of equal rights.”

“Our hearts break for those who have suffered unimaginable and relentless in justice and oppression,” said Cornerstone Presbyterian Church pastor Steve Burton. “Our hearts are heavy for the suffering that has been institutionalized and deemed acceptable and there is anger, fear, uncertainty, suspicion, resignation, hopelessness and yet there is hope.”