by Calvin Ishee

With a lot of negativity, civil unrest, riots and looting going on around the country, there was nothing but peace, loving and healing support happening in the City of Pass Christian. Even though it was on relatively short notice, this past Saturday close to 100 local residents braved a torrential downpour to support the Pass Christian Prayer Walk. People of all races, religions and creeds came out to show their total support for equality and justice for all.

The event was organized by local resident Cathleen Ross who stated the reason she decided to organize the event “was to serve notice that there’s a cry for justice, even in The Pass”.  She stated that she had no expectations regarding the Walk however, participation “definitely” exceeded her expectations!  She added, “definitely happy with the outcome, it went from a thought to action” in a very short period of time. When asked which Bible verse best captured her intent for this Walk, she quickly replied II Chronicles 7:14, which reads, “and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land”.

The event was well supported by City leaders like Mayor Chipper McDermott, Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall, Alderman-at-Large Kenny Torgeson, City Attorney Malcolm Jones, Police Chief Daren Freeman, Fire Chief Dwight Gordon and countless civic and religious leaders. Mayor McDermott commented, “Nice, peaceful and well organized event that had a positive influence that was well needed”.

Alderman Hall graciously heeded the call and worked diligently with City Departments to make this walk a reality, in spite of short notice. Hall commented, “First let me say thank you to the Police Chief for when I called him, he did not hesitate to say yes right away. He said I’d be more than welcome and his Department helped with traffic control. Next I’d like to say that we need to continue the dialogue between the Police Department and the citizens because they go hand in hand. When the Police and citizens have a good relationship, overall we have a healthy community.”

The March began with prayer and those prayers continued throughout the Walk. When the group arrived at City Hall, additional prayers calling for fair justice for all, love, peace and community healing were offered by several of the walkers. Then another group of participants offered scripture verses that supported the themes already offered in prayer.

In spite of the heavy rain, most of the group finished the walk which ended on the East side of Memorial Park. As people were leaving, I found a soggy piece of paper in my pocket that Police Chief Freeman had handed me at the start of the event, which read from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Time is cluttered with the wreckage of broken communities which have surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation and the salvation of mankind, we must follow another way”.

It concluded with, “We pray that we all can follow this other way and come to understand that injustice to a black person is injustice to all; that regardless of race or culture, all people, without exception, are made in the image of God, and are deserving of our respect and love”.  An excellent summary of the reason for Saturday’s event.