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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and some of the city's religious leaders gathered outside City Hall on Saturday and held a virtual prayer vigil for those who have been harmed by racism and violence across America.
Following nationwide protests after the murder of George Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, the group decried racism and violence against people of color and urged unity and peace.
"We're here to honor the memory of George Floyd and reflect on his murder," Walsh said. "Now is a time for all of us to stand together by praying for peace, by listening and learning, and working for justice."
Walsh addressed the community, saying that this hatred and violence is a traumatic reality for black Americans that "has played out far too many times."
"We do not, and we will not, tolerate that kind of brutality here in Boston," Walsh said.
With the mayor was Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, who condemned the killing of Floyd and said that departments should have bias-free policing.
"We should not — ourselves, our children, and our seniors that paved the way — ever have to view a video like we did that emanated from Minneapolis as an officer knelt on Mr. Floyd's neck until he was calling out his mother's name," Gross said during the vigil. "That is not the way we police. That is not the way we are going to police. And if we run into any incidents like that, we will handle it."
The vigil was broadcast online, bringing together multiple faiths. Bishop John Borders III of the Morning Star Baptist Church opened up a prayer by telling young viewers of the sermon that the members of the faith community were not there as a tool for the mayor's office or police department.
"We are not here to placate the unrest and the rage that's taking place in our community," Borders said. "We are here because we have a moral obligation to be here. Because we care."
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