Led by Pamela Johnson, the executive director of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement, around 100 people gathered for a peaceful vigil on Martin Luther King Drive for the victims in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Dallas.
“People came together for a prayer vigil for Jersey City and other cities in this country and what happened today was a miraculous turnout where everyone came out to just basically unifying with each other and prayed for peace,” stated Johnson.
Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) also addressed the crowd.
“We are here because [of] our brothers that are being killed. There are police officers that are being killed. We have to come together and this should not be the only day that we come together and unite. Let’s help each other.”
The first prayer was led by Jersey City Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman, pastor at the Continuous Flow Christian Center.
“We need to put away our differences, sit down at the table and see how we can become one, not just as a city, but as a nation. The cry is great right now throughout the city.”
As far as the obvious divide between the local community and police, both Watterman and Johnson shared the same sentiments regarding the need for unity.
Watterman explained that it’s important to “meet and put down the differences first” and then there could be a “solution to bridge the gap.”
Johnson shared that she “let Dr. Shea know that we should have town hall meetings were introduce the new recruits to the community. The homeowners, the business owners, the kids who hang on the block. You need to have the connection first and then the relationship will build after that.”
As far as the Black Lives Matter protest that passed by Biergarten Zeppelin Hall during Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s fundraiser, Johnson explained that the action was not planned, but the message was about getting everyone involved with putting an end to violence.
“Why do we have to feel like it’s just our problem? Yes, we are black, but it’s not just black people’s problem so we marched downtown to get them involved.”
A city spokeswoman did not return an email seeking comment on the protest last week.
The vigil concluded with the people chanting “Jersey City United.”