Richmond faith leaders fear ‘agitators’ are hijacking social justice movement, plead for peace

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond faith leaders condemned all acts of violence that have taken place during protests across the city while at Faith Community Baptist Church on Wednesday.

Pastors from several congregations gathered at the church in order to build a bridge over troubled waters. They said they don’t want their message to be hijacked but that a few agitators are trying to do that exact thing.

“There’s been an infiltration of people among peaceful protesters that have caused violence in our city,” Bishop Darryl F. Husband, the pastor of Mount Olivet Church, said.

Those who spoke said “bad actors” and “agitators” are being lumped together with peaceful protesters, distorting the movement of social justice.

“We are setting up for another civil war,” Husband said. “This is a dangerous time, if we don’t get ahold of it now, there is going to be blood baths in the street.”

Wednesday’s gathering at the church came after some protesters vandalized Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s residential building overnight.

“It’s extremely unacceptable,” Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond said. “I stand here with so many mixed emotions with what is happening to my city. The invasion on the mayor’s home is so troubling to me.”

McQuinn fears things have reached a new level.

“We are not just concerned about the mayor but all of us are subject to that,” she added.

Richmond Councilman Michael Jones, the city’s 9th District representative and a pastor himself, said “threats are nothing new to politicians.” When he spoke Wednesday, Jones referred to times when he felt threatened.

“I’ve been called the n-word for three years and running and it’s nothing new,” he said. “Going to a man’s house in an act of intimidation is not cool.”

Faith leaders said people need to get back to the root of trying to end systemic racism, not get into a war with the police. City leaders and pastors are urging people to stand together and not lose sight of the cause. They said they will be out marching but that change will happen with policies and procedures.

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