Gainesville Community Unity Hour of Prayer
What: Public prayer service focused on community leadership and healing, with an emphasis on teachers, police officers and local activists in light of recent violence across America.
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Downtown Gainesville square
More info: the Rev. Robert Washington, 770-851-5558 or OneGainesvilleUnited@gmail.com
An earlier version of this story included an incorrect time.
In keeping with a commitment to bring law enforcement, minorities and the wider community together, a prayer service is scheduled for Saturday in downtown Gainesville.
Gainesville Community Unity Hour of Prayer, as the event is billed, is designed for police officers, residents, community workers, teachers and other civic leaders to come together in the spirit of healing and forgiveness.
The Rev. Robert Washington of the Grace Center of Hope in Gainesville said the mission is to prevent this city from becoming the next community in the national spotlight of gun-related violence.
The event is part of several ongoing initiatives from local African-American leaders to proactively respond to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has called attention to the deadly and sometimes criminal use of force by police.
And Washington said it is also imperative for residents to see police officers as people and not just the positions they hold.
Gainesville and Hall County officials met with civic and religious leaders earlier this month for a roundtable discussion in response to the shooting deaths of two black men by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, as well as the murder of police officers in Dallas and Louisiana by African-American men who had formerly served in the nation’s military.
“As our nation mourns the loss of police officers, as the nation mourns the loss of many African-Americans, we continue to try to bring healing to those who are hurting in our community because of either event,” Washington said.