Louisianans combat injustice with unified prayer meeting

Demonstrators kneel down at Jackson Square

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As violent protests surrounding police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis continue, a number of Louisianans gathered to kneel in prayer, Sunday.

On Pentecost, several dozen kneeled before St. Louis Cathedral to talk to God, each in their own way.

"To see this culmination of all these multi-cultures and different denominations just come together under the banner of love and brotherhood, awesome. Awesome. I will remember this day for the rest of my life," said New Orleans Pastor George Green.

Green led the group in Amazing Grace after 30 minutes of kneeling prayer. He and another pastor in the city, Dean Sunseri, organized the event on the heels of George Floyd's death and the rioting that followed.

"To invite the Holy Spirit into our city and bring the opposite spirit of what is happening around our nation," Sunseri said.

It's especially symbolic on same day Christians believe the holy spirit visited Jesus' apostles. Their chosen place of prayer also significant. Sunseri says, recognized as the heart of the city, Jackson Square was also once the site of division and pain.

"After one of the slave rebellions, there was a persecution, there was executions that happened here," said Sunseri.

Sunseri believes scars from these wounds still exist and only God can heal them.

"This is just a representation of the racial divide in our city," Sunseri said.

"That's why were here, for repentance and forgiveness and to come together in unity in one accord," said attendee Leon Emery.

Those who came to pray say they were called to action.

"We're out here for a reason and it's not pleasant," said Risa Williams.

Risa and her husband, Chris Williams, say they want to be part of the solution to social injustice and this was the first step.

"It's not too dark to do something. It looks dark but we can bring light wherever we go," said Chris.

"It starts with driving 20 minutes to come down here, lock arms with our brothers and sisters and just say, if we want change it starts right here," Risa said.

These believers say there is more to come-- the unity, love and fellowship seen Sunday is only the beginning.

"Let's keep going forward because we are going to keep going forward and keep going forward and we're going to win. And I don't believe it's a color thing. The color is weak, the mind and the heart in the person inside is strong," said attendee Ronald Major.

Organizers say they are hopeful their prayer meeting has a positive influence on other communities looking to take action-- that it may inspire a peaceful alternative to violent protests.

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