NORFOLK, Va. - People of all ages, all races and all faiths made their way through the hot, city streets of Norfolk Sunday.
Hundreds of demonstrators from dozens of different churches came together for a Prayer March to help mend the racial divide and bring about change.
Kevin Tremper, a pastor at CrossRoads Church in Norfolk, organized the event.
“One people, one faith, one Lord,” Tremper chanted before the group stepped off from City Hall.
Elizabeth Williams of Virginia Beach was at the march with her husband and four young kids.
“I think too long, I myself have been indifferent,” Williams said. “I want us as a family to stand up for places where we see inequality and injustice, so we can really walk out our faith.”
Williams said the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis has ignited difficult conversations with her kids about race.
“I really wanted them to have a voice and show that we as a family stand up when we see things that are not just,” she said.
Melanie Patterson of Chesapeake was at the demonstration with her husband David and 22-year-old daughter Desiree. The Pattersons believe the power of prayer can help the country heal and unite.
“We always need prayer,” Melanie Patterson said. “I don’t care how much we do in life, where we go, it always has to be led by prayer.”
Law enforcement officers walked shoulder to shoulder with the group as they called for police reform and a crackdown on police brutality.
“We believe things are changing and progress and reform needs to be both action and also needs to be words,” said Tremper. “From police training to police reinforcing. We would like to see a community review board that is started by citizens.”
Among the many signs, some read, “I’m not black, but I see you, I hear you,” and “God is color blind.”
Williams’ seven-year-old Bear held a sign that perhaps summed it up the best.
“Love one another,” Bear read aloud.
A message so simple yet powerful.