Harrisonburg community prays for healing, marches for justice
A group of people from around the Shenandoah Valley plans to gather for prayer for healing of racial trauma in the country on Monday evening, while another group is planning a silent march through the city shortly afterward.
Harrisonburg city council member Christopher Jones organized
asking for people to meet at the corner of Elizabeth and Main Street, at the city's Public Safety Building, at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 1.
Jones is asking people to join him in prayer "for the healing of those that have experienced trauma due to racism and healing for our city, state, and nation."
, with hundreds of people marking their planned attendance on Facebook.
Organizers of that event say they want everyone to come together and "march in silence out of respect for the late George Floyd and countless others. . . As for the march, we will be silent because we see what can happen if we aren't. We do NOT want anyone to die in this march so we will march in silence."
The events follow
, some of which have turned violent, in the wake of George Floyd's death after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck for several minutes as other officers stood by.
Harrisonburg's Public Safety Building, in front of which the prayer event is planned, houses the city's police department, among other agencies dedicated to public safety in the city. On Friday, Harrisonburg Police Chief Eric English
, saying the death of George Floyd rips "at the fabric of what police organizations should be striving to be and that is building relationships with your community."
In preparation for the 6 p.m. march, the city government is encouraging drivers passing through downtown and using Liberty or Main Streets to exercise caution and be prepared for pedestrians on or near the roadway. They say drivers may wish to find an alternate route instead.
Monday's prayer event and march follow
, sponsored by the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center to provide a peaceful way for people to express how they feel toward police brutality and hatred.
According to Stan Maclin, the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center will be sponsoring another event this coming Friday at 6 p.m. at Harrisonburg's Court Square for people to listen and speak about police brutality and hatred.
Maclin says the peaceful rally will help the center's efforts " help the City of Harrisonburg /Rockingham County become a Model Beloved City to rest of the Nation." They plan to focus at least some of their efforts on asking "where is Marsha Garst," the Rockingham County Commonwealth's Attorney.
They're asking all participants to wear masks and practice physical distancing to stay safe amid COVID-19 precautions.