Peaceful demonstrators pray for justice, unity in New Orleans' Congo Square
NEW ORLEANS - Demonstrators in New Orleans organized peaceful rallies centered around the promotion of non-violence and open discussion on Sunday.
According to WWL-TV, the hundreds of participants who congregated in Congo Square to participate in an interfaith prayer event were from diverse backgrounds.
The rally was organized by Pastor Gregory Manning of the Broadmoor Community Church.
“Let’s come together as a community and press pause on all the shouting, the yelling and the demanding,” Manning said. “There will still be a place for that, but right now, we come together in unity and solidarity.”
Solidarity in a movement to change systems in society that fosters racism and injustice.
Pastor Christiana Ford held a Silence the Violence rally in Washington Square Park.
“We’re trying to reform the police department in every city and every town, and we are trying to save our youth, amen,” Ford said.
About a hundred people were on hand for a multi-cultural panel discussion across the street from Jackson Square.
They talked about the “next steps” that need to be taken in the aftermath of recent police-involved shooting deaths in Minneapolis, Atlanta and other cities across the country.
Panelist and WBOK talk show host Oliver Thomas said necessary change has never come about following one disenfranchised group's request to officials that the system stop hurting them.
Thomas said much more is needed for change to take place.
“Change has come about because people outside their group, outside that culture, outside that system outside that religion, outside that race outside that gender say you know what, enough is enough,” Thomas explained.
As one speaker put, it is not about the protests and demonstrations we are holding today, it’s about what people take away from them in an effort to change opinions in their own circles back home.
“We need these young people to go back to their Thanksgiving table to their Christmas table, that’s the moment that is really going to count,” Pastor Manning said. ‘It will take some intentionality and some courage to tell their relatives who may be racists to say 'we can’t tolerate these systems anymore.'”
Manning added that’s the point when you begin to see real change.