‘Witnessing to Hope’ prayer vigil draws 1,000 to Grand Army Plaza
A prayer vigil brought more than 1,000 Brooklynites and others around the metropolitan area to Grand Army Plaza on Monday night. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams organized “Witnessing to Hope: A Candlelight Vigil of Prayer and Peace,” which reached out to clergy and lay leaders representing Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. While the entire vigil took place during daylight, participants held lit candles in solidarity.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, as well as diocesan chaplains to the NYPD, co-led the vigil.
The vigil was organized as Brooklyn’s response to the violence and racial strife that resulted in the deaths of Alton Stirling, Philando Castile and five Dallas police officers: Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa.
Clergy and elected officials who spoke, including Rev. Msgr. Robert Romano, NYPD deputy chief chaplain; BP Adams; state Sen. Marty Golden; and Public Advocate Letitia James, all emphasized that one should not be forced to choose between protecting the civil rights of black citizens and respecting the work of police forces. “We must do both,” they said.
They also called on Brooklyn to continue being a model for cooperation among people of diverse backgrounds.
The Rev. A.R. Bernard, pastor of the Christian Cultural Center, led the invocation. Rabbi Bob Kaplan, of the Center for Community Leadership at the Jewish Community Relations Council-NY, was the emcee.
Offering prayers in their respective traditions were Dr. Uma Mysorekar of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, the Venerable Bhante Hennebunne Kondañña of the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara, Jasleen Kaur Bawa of The Sikh Coalition, Msgr. Romano of the NYPD, Imam Sakhawat Hussain of the Al-Mahdi Foundation and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis.
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