Local ministers move to reset the protest movement amid social unrest


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — They watched the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers and they watched the sometimes violent protests from coast to coast.

On Monday, local pastors watched, in shock, as President Trump called in federal troops, cleared peaceful protesters by force, and then staged a photo-op in front of a church.

“It seems as though he was using the church and he used the bible as a prop,” said Dr. Keith Jones, President of the Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers Conference.

With turmoil in Washington, to Hampton Roads, and across the country, a different approach in the fight for justice begins this week with Fill the Hill. The rally and peaceful protest Tuesday night at Mt. Trashmore is hosted by the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Minister’s Conference.

“We have to speak out on the social injustice that put people in situations where they come to church beaten down and downtrodden,” said spokesperson Dr. James Allen.

From the pews to the polls, the Hampton NAACP Wednesday evening will host a rally and voter registration drive at Bethel AME Church. The group says if meaningful change is going to take place, it’s going to take place on the local level first.

Gaylene Kanoyton is the local chapter’s president.

“Let’s use our voice and our vote and, yes, hold our elected officials accountable, hold our police departments accountable, and make sure we have a relationship will all of them,” said Kanoyton.

Friday, efforts move to downtown Norfolk, just outside city hall where the Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers Conference will hold “Prayer in the Public Square” with representatives from the Muslim, Jewish and Catholic communities. Conference president, Dr. Jones, is critical of President Trump’s response to protesters while offering prayers for the president.

“We pray for the president, we pray for his health, we pray for his future, we pray for his salvation,” said Jones.

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