Faith leaders and community members join hands to reject racism

RICHMOND, Va. -- Pastors and ministry leaders throughout the Richmond metro stood united Monday against white supremacy, including anti-Semitism.

Hundreds joined hands around the Maggie Walker statue to reject the ideology of white supremacy and racism.

This comes more than a week after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

Religious leaders read a statement of unity that was supported and signed by 600 Christian leaders in the community.

“Everybody has equal value and we as faith leaders are committed to trying to do everything we know how to do in our power and continue to grow to help make that happen here in our city,” said Arrabon Executive Director David Bailey.

A city, religious leaders say is part of a divided nation.

“The bible is really, really clear that there’s not a lack of moral clarity when it comes to things like racism so one of the best things we as Christian leaders can do is offer that moral clarity in a time when there is a lot of confusion,” said Third Church Lead Pastor Corey Widmer.

Maggie Walker Governor's School freshman Charlie Unice attended the event to show his support for unity in the next generation.

“In 20 years we will be the people that are there, so you have to remember this and say how other people will feel when you do it,” said Unice.

Pastor Don Coleman of East End Fellowship believes August 21, 2017 will be “an unprecedented moment of unity in Richmond’s history.”

Organizers acknowledge the statement of unity is only the first step.

“I think it’s important that we actually commit to do what we said we are going to do which means continue to affirm what we believe about the dignity of every human being, continue to resist things that are antithetical to that like white supremacy and that we repent of our own place in that and we work for reconciliation and unity,” said pastor Widmer.

Organizers will meet later this week to develop concrete next steps in discussing the legacy of racism in the city.