Amid more police-involved violence and ongoing protests in Philadelphia this week, the Eastern PA Conference Urban Commission is urging conference members to attend its second Fight for Floyd meeting via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 PM.

The timely meeting, titled “The Fight for Floyd and Beyond,” will again gather United Methodists and others across our region who are concerned about ongoing racial injustice, policing and violence, and who want to help seek solutions. The first organizing meeting was held June 1, one week after the horrific killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis, Minn., police.

In the wake of Walter Wallace Jr.’s killing by police on Monday, Bishop Peggy Johnson issued a “Call to Prayer for Philadelphia” in a message to all four Conference districts. She wrote:

I awoke this morning to news reports of yet another fatal shooting of an African American young man in an incident with law enforcement. The streets of West Philadelphia have been filled with unrest and grief. Videos of this young man’s mother are heart-wrenching, and we are numb with sadness for this continual bloodshed. There are no words that adequately describe this pain but, “the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

I call us, people of God, to pray for justice. Pray for peace. Pray that the investigation of this incident will shed light and truth. Pray that God will comfort the family of Walter Wallace and the many who have been injured and experienced loss during this tragedy.

Meanwhile, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity organization, which includes some UM clergy, held a prayer march and rally Tuesday, while a larger protest rally also took place. There was also violence, as police officers were attacked and injured, and local businesses were looted and damaged.

‘We walk the same walk…’

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this morning:

Members of the West Philadelphia community where Walter Wallace Jr. lived before he was fatally shot by police officers during a confrontation Monday expressed their grief and shock over his death. Another night of tense protests in the city followed. We’re continuing to cover all the latest developments and fallout from the fatal shooting.

Family and neighbors remembered Walter Wallace Jr. as a father, son, and rap artist after he was fatally shot by police during a confrontation, galvanizing community members who took to the streets to lift his name to national attention. He was a “family man” with many mental health crises.

On the Cobbs Creek block where he lived, people swayed and wept as the sounds of Wallace’s Black Lives Matter-themed song “Black Hearted"
blared through the block from the red Toyota of a woman who identified herself
as Wallace’s cousin.

“We walk the same walk as Walter,” said Chris Thomas, who lives on the block. "Everyone that was out here is traumatized.”

“Join us as we come together again with clergy and community to discuss how we will align to fight injustice,” said organizers of the Fight for Floyd meeting, led by the Rev. William Brawner, Conference Urban Ministries Coordinator. "Much has occurred since we were last together.”  

The meeting will include updates from the campaign’s three action committees: Community Development, Education and Policy. There will also be remarks and discussions about Police and Policing, Police Brutality in Lancaster, Pa., and Violence in Philadelphia.

“We’re looking for new participants to join this movement, as well as any participants who want to re-engage,” said Brawner. REGISTER NOW for the upcoming Fight for Floyd and Beyond." Download the flyer for more information.