Black church leaders in Columbus ask Ohioans to understand protesters’ pain

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — After the unrest overnight in downtown Columbus, many are left wondering why demonstrators smashed store fronts and destroyed city property. 

Local pastors say broken glass pales in comparison to the broken hearts of the black community after seeing George Floyd’s death on video.

“There’s a cry for justice,” Pastor Michael Young said. “When you see a man who’s life is taken in the hands of those ordered to protect and serve, it’s incredibly disheartening​.”

Pastor Young with the City Of Grace Church is a prominent black community leader. He’s wiped the tears of many who won’t stand for police brutality anymore.​ ​

“I think it’s pain. I think it’s frustrating. I think it’s disappointment,” Pastor Young said. “If I can summarize it in one word, I think it’s tired of seeing things like this take place.” ​​

Columbus Urban League CEO Stephanie Hightower’s mission is to bring healing to the black community.​  She said seeing black men killed by white officers over and over again sets the community back.​ ​​

“Until communities begin to have a conversation about race, about inequities and create equity . . . we are going to continue to have what we have right now,” said Hightower. ​

Pastor Frederick LaMarr with the Family Missionary Baptist Church agrees. He said he’s heard the comments from others who don’t understand why people are demonstrating the way they are. ​He gave advice to those negatively criticizing  those protesting.  ​​

“You have to feel somebody’s pain,”LeMarr said. “I don’t know who those people were, but you know what the pain is. Here’s another life that’s lost.”

Young, Hightower and LeMarr all say they feel the protesters’ pain as black Americans and just demonstrates to protest peacefully.​

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