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Some Faith Leaders "Heartbroken" Over Turn Of Events At Protest

pic of First Community A.M.E. Church
First Community A.M.E. Church

With cities across the nation, including right here in Grand Rapids, rocked by protests, riots and clashes with police in the wake of George Floyd’s death, some religious leaders are heart-broken over this weekend’s turn of events. 

“I was grateful for the opportunity to come together with brothers and sisters of different hues and backgrounds, to engage in the midst of this peaceful capacity of protests and walk for social justice and be able to demonstrate and hear the cries of the people.”

That was how it began.  Those are the words from the Reverend Dr. Willie Gholston, the second.  Pastor of First Community African Methodist Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids.  Pastor Gholston was at Saturday’s march.  He reflects on the “peace of it all”.  An attempt to peacefully protest and allow the community to deal with the pain and outrage over the death of George Floyd. 

“When things took a turn in the evening time and agitators and perpetrators from possibly near and far, took away aspects of what we intended to lift up, it truly broke my heart.”

Gholston says there’s still much work to do; but with the bad, he sees a silver lining of hope.

“While the fires were taking place, while people were breaking hopes and dreams, it was good to see on the next day, individuals trying to put Grand Rapids together again.  And it’s a plea for us to come together as one Grand Rapids, to recognize that no matter what,

And in the end Pastor Gholston offers one word for how to move forward.

“Love. Love is something that is imperative for all of us. Love for oneself. Love for one’s community. One’s family and brothers and sisters that are an extension of who we are.”

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.