Local church leaders call for compassion after violent protests

Local religious leaders are calling for prayer, anger management and compassion amid a weekend of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.

In a message to his congregation, the Rev. Kenneth E. Rioland Jr. of Paramount Baptist Church in D.C., said people need to be careful when responded to Floyd’s death through protest. He said reacting in a violent manner, such as “burning down our own neighborhoods,” isn’t helping anyone.

”We’ve got to be smart,” Rioland said. “If we tear up our own neighborhood, who’s going to rebuild it? If we burn down our own buildings, who’s going to rebuild them? If we hurt each other, who’s going to replace us?”

Rioland acknowledged the anger and frustration people have of watching another the death of an African American male at the hands of police. After quoting a bible verse — Ephesians 4:26 — he said it is important to watch our actions while expression those feelings.

“We got to have a little compassion for those people that are acting in anger because this hurts. This is frustrating,” he said.

”How many times we got to come down this same path?

“How many times do we have to see people be exonerated for injustice? How often do we have to listen to divisive rhetoric from the leader of the free world? It’s enough to make you angry,” Rioland said.

In a statement, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Archdiocese of Arlington called the violence and looting committed during the protests “dishonors the legacy of Mr. Floyd,” complicating a “tragic situation.”

However, Burbidge said prayers should be sent to Floyd’s family and friends, as well as those who participated in the protests during their time of morning. He said all communities should come together to restore peace and justice throughout the nation.

“As a people of faith and as a nation of laws, we always work to assure justice,” Burbidge said.

“Given the particular gravity and impact of this tragic event, that process must be prioritized, as it will symbolize for all citizens that such acts of brutality are unbecoming of law enforcement officers and below our national decency.”

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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