BY JAMES HARPER
The Volusia County-Daytona Beach NAACP and area pastors are asking Volusia County residents to join them on Saturday at the Fifth District Court of Appeal building for a vigil calling for justice for Trayvon Martin.
The Rev. Dr. L. Ronald Durham, pastor of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and president of the area’s Black Clergy Alliance, joined several area pastors participated in a teleconference Sunday with the Rev. Al Sharpton. Through his National Action Network, he has called for “Justice for Trayvon” vigils around the country.
100 cities or more
According to Durham, “The vigils, taking place in 100 or more cities will be a call to action to push (U.S.) Attorney General Eric Holder to file federal charges for the violation of Trayvon Martin’s civil rights against George Zimmerman.”
“If we don’t act now to stem the far-reaching implications for the verdict in this trial, anyone can now find themselves followed or confronted by a stranger, and when asked ‘why are you following me’ can be shot using this ruling as the basis of their defense,” Durham said.
Additionally, Durham is asking all youth attending the rally to bring a bag of Skittles and wear a hoodie.
The Court of Appeal is located at 300 S. Beach St.
Prayers drowned out
Durham, along with the Rev. John Long of Tubman-King Community Church and Pastor Monzell Ford were in Sanford on Saturday before the verdict was read at the Seminole County courthouse. They were praying among the protesters gathered for the verdict.
At times, their prayers could not be heard above the protesters.
One protester shouted, “We have been told to pray for our pie in the sky. That is race treason. I reject your notion to rely on Christianity to solve all our problems. There is another away. You don’t know the Bible you follow.”
Monzell still attempted to pray.
“I’m crying out Father, set it straight according to your purpose. I came for prayer because prayer changes things. I pray for peace, direction,” continued Monzell as the protesters got louder, shouting “Justice for Trayvon. We want justice. We want justice.”
Prayed despite heckling
Long didn’t try to debate with the protesters.
“Prayer is the only thing that changes things. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to debate. I’m praying for peace regardless of the outcome,” Long said.
Durham said it was important for them to pray for Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of Trayvon Martin.
“Strength is needed for them. They have gone through a traumatic event in their life for the past year. Right now they need strength. They don’t have that within themselves,” he remarked.
“All power is in your hand. Surround the courthouse with love and peace. There are those who have come so that peace may not rein; with you all things are possible. Look down on the family we pray as they hold hands together,” Durham continued, despite being heckled by protesters.
“You are with them. You will not forsake them. We pray you bring people together in unity. All things will be done according to your purpose. In the end justice belongs to God,’’ he added.
Pete Combs, a reporter and anchor for 95.5FM News/Talk of Atlanta provided the Daytona Times with recordings of the statements he recorded and the pastors’ prayers while in Sanford at the courthouse.