Prayerful protest held at Festival Park

Published 4:40 pm Thursday, June 11, 2020

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Prayer and protest blended on the Washington waterfront Wednesday evening, as pastors and congregants gathered at Festival Park to pray for justice and healing amidst contentious times.

Pastor Antonio Moore, of Life Restoration Center in Chocowinity, organized the event, bringing pastors from various churches to share their wisdom and perspectives on nationwide unrest and protests against police brutality.

“People want to be heard, but feel like they aren’t being heard,” Moore said. “That’s why they’re tearing up stuff. I’m opening up the floor up for anyone who has something they want to say.”

All told, four pastors joined in the prayerful protest, along with a multiracial gathering of believers. Citing the name of Cedric Pritchard, who was fatally shot by a Washington Police Department officer while allegedly fleeing with a gun in his hand, as well as George Floyd, Moore called on those in power to make changes.

“We need justice,” Moore told those assembled. “We need justice for Cedric Pritchard, and we need justice for many, many more. But we can’t do it by ourselves. We need our community. We need the police to step up against what is evil. We need our local pastors to give hope to our community. Then we can make America great again.”

Ultimately, Moore challenged those in attendance to stand together in unity, speaking to the power of Christ to bring all people together.

“Jesus Christ loved us so much that he died for us,” Moore said. “He died for the Caucasians, He died for the African Americans, He died for the Hispanics — He died for all people. Because he died for all people, we can stand together. United we stand and divided we fall. We can make a difference if we stand together.”

A number of elected and appointed officials also attended the meeting, including Washington Mayor Mac Hodges, City Councilman Donald Sadler, County Commissioner Ed Booth and Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford.

“I think by the end of this, God showed me, we will bring unity back, with no racism, no colors,” Moore said. “We can all work together as a community and not just operate based on color.”