A protest rally in Troy, Ohio, on Monday became a symbol of what can happen when people are willing to listen to each other and pray together.
About 150 mostly young people, black, white and Latino, gathered in the town square to show their solidarity with George Floyd, the African-American man whose death at the hands of police in Minneapolis has sparked both peaceful rallies and violent riots across the country.
A video shot by The Troy Show, shared with permission here, shows Troy Police Officer Chris Tilley taking a knee in the center of the crowd to talk to the young people. Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director Bryan Kemper, a Troy resident, then calls his colleague, Evangelist Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, to ask her to pray on speaker phone.
The crowd hushed when they heard that the niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be addressing them.
â€œHeavenly Father, I love these young people,â€ Evangelist King prayed. â€œI wish I could be there right among them. They have energy. They have enthusiasm. They want to make a difference. They know they were born for a purpose. â€¦ Help them to use their passion and their anger and even their confusion for Your good. Give them true answers, turn them around and let them win, win, win because they were born to be winners.â€
After the gathering, Kemper said â€œI saw a lot of passion, pain and healing tonight in Troy. There were some tense moments but there were beautiful moments. I was able to get Evangelist Alveda King on the phone to lead the protesters and the police in a prayer together and it was beautiful. I pray for continued conversation.
â€œTo be able to bring a voice like Alveda King to this moment was amazing. I'm truly blessed to work with and learn from Alveda and the values her family, including her Uncle Martin, instilled in her.â€
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life added, â€œWe thank God for the faith-filled citizens who are responding to this situation with prayer.â€