Local clergy, local law enforcement officers and members of the community joined together Friday evening for a prayer rally in honor of the Dallas Police Department tragedy that unfolded overnight.
Pastor Ralph Dawkins began the gathering speaking about the reasons the crowd was gathered. He said the crowd was gathered for Alton Sterling, a black man from Louisiana killed by police this week; for Philando Castile, a black man killed by police in Minnesota this week; and for the five Dallas officers who were killed Thursday by a black man who said he wanted to kill whites.
Dawkins reminded the crowd that all lives matter.
San Angelo Mayor Dwain Morrison spoke to the crowd next and expressed how proud he was of the San Angelo community.
“We need to respect each other,” Morrison said. “And realize that we are all God’s people and take care of each other so that we don’t have the problems that they’re having all over our world. This is San Angelo and I can’t think of a better place in the world to start this movement that Jesus called us to about 2,000 years ago. Let’s stop this hate and end this violence so that God will put his strong arm of protection over our city.”
Morrison then led the crowd in a prayer.
Police Chief Tim Vasquez stressed the need for the community to continue to stand together with law enforcement before leading the crowd in prayer.
“We have to continue to nurture those situations,” Vasquez said about relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve. “Incidents that we’re seeing occur all over the United States could easily occur here today.
After other clergy from local churches spoke, Dawkins then asked in closing for everyone present to find a person who was a different race, gender or socio-economic status near them and lock arms or hold hands for “unity in the community.”
“To come together and to help one another and pray for one another and support one another in the name of Jesus.” Dawkins said. “Before you go, give someone a hug and tell them, ‘Jesus loves you’.”