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Delegation of L.A. Faith Leaders Head to Georgia to Stand with the Ahmaud Arbery Family

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Kisha Smith

A delegation of L.A. faith leaders is answering the call of the National Action Network’s Rev. Al Sharpton and Atlanta-based mega pastor Jamal Bryant to form stand together against racism and injustice at the Glynn County Courthouse in support of the family of Ahmaud Arbery.

The prosecution has rested its case in the trial of Arbery’s killers— Gregory McMichael, son Travis McMichael and a neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr.—who are accused of hunting down and fatally shooting the 25-year old black man who was out for a jog in Brunswick, Georgia. 

The defense is presently making its case, but one of the first motions from one of the defense attorneys was in response to the presence of Rev. Jesse Jackson, —arguing that civil rights leaders and or pastors sitting with the family of Ahmaud Arbery could be intimidating to the jury.

“The idea that we’re going to be serially bringing these people in to sit with the victim’s family one after another,” Attorney Kevin Gough said. “Obviously there’s only so many pastors they can have, and if their pastor is Al Sharpton right now, that’s fine, that’s it, we don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here.”

The judge disagreed, but not before Gough’s words set in motion a call to action for black pastors around the country to show up in force.

“We heard the call to action and —as the president of the Baptist Minister’s Conference of Southern California—I will lead a delegation of 15 local pastors to Georgia to pray and stand with the Arbery family,” said Pastor K.W. Tulloss, senior pastor of the Weller Street Baptist Church. 

The L.A. faith leaders will join upwards of 100 black pastors from across the nation.

“The Bible describes the pastor as the angel of the church and the black pastor has always been at the forefront of standing with family members against unjust crimes in the community and what we heard in Georgia last week was a blatant attack against the Black church and the Arbery family, so we we’re going to send a strong message to the state of Georgia,” Tulloss continued.

“No one tells us where to stand. We’re ready to go beyond the pulpit and stand with anyone whose family member has been killed or tragically harmed because of race. This is an opportunity for the Black church and faith leaders across the nation to stand together for justice.”

Sharpton, Bryant and Jackson—who has dubbed Arbery as the “Emmett Till of our day” and had been accompanying the family in the courtroom—will be joined by attorney Benjamin Crump.

Said Bryant, “This coming Thursday at 11 o’clock we’re going to form a human prayer wall around that court building for justice to prevail, for racism not to be able to reign victorious…to let that family know that they will not be living in fear, to let that community know that if God be for you, who can be against you.”

A jury of eleven whites and one Black will ultimately decide the fate of the three men who—if convicted— face life in prison without the possibility of parole.


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