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Number of church congregations across west Michigan participate in a “Call for Justice for Patrick Lyoya”

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Wikimedia Commons
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Wikimedia Commons
Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Sunday, one pastor explained a singular cultural barrier that may have contributed to the fatal shooting of the 26-year old Congolese refugee at the hands of a Grand Rapids police officer during an April traffic stop.

“When you come to the black community, it’s not monolithic.”

Reverend John Mondi is Senior Church Pastor of Grand Rapids’ African Community Fellowship Church.

“Even those from Africa, we come from different cultural settings. And therefore, the theme of loving your neighbor. The theme of loving the stranger and welcoming them. If that has to take place, we have to take the nitty-gritty of getting to know each other well.”

Reverend Mondi has viewed the videos of Patrick Lyoya running from Grand Rapids police officer Christopher Schurr leading to a struggle and then the fatal shooting.

“Could there be something else that could have been done in that video? Looking (at) it from my Kenyan eyes in the culture that I come from, yes. Yes! In Kenya when you run from police, it is respectful for the police because you show respect to the authority. You run away from them. And therefore, when you run away from them, they are very happy. But when you resist and stay there, it is the total opposite. This little cultural issues really are important and sometimes we overlook them.”

Reverend Mondi suggests when it comes to discussing social justice, and the foundational issues, it’s the little things, as he puts it, that are most important.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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