CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Dozens gathered at Bethel AME Church tonight to kick off 48 hours of peace. People from all different backgrounds came together to pray.
This is a direct response to rising gun violence. Just two days ago a 14- year old was shot in Champaign. People at today’s event don’t want to see any of that over the next 48 hours.
People gathered together to pray for 48 hours of peace.
“What we’re trying to do is bring a spiritual component. The ministers have not been as active as we should. Some have some haven’t. And so we’re trying to come together across faith traditions across denominations and all of that to pray for peace,” Terrance Thomas, Reverend of Bethel AME Church, said.
Nearly 20 ministries in the Champaign-Urbana community were involved.
“And so this is our opportunity to come together and show solidarity, model what we are preaching in the community and so that’s kind of our goal,” Thomas said.
Dozens of people came out including Champaign and Urbana’s mayors, everyone wanting the same thing.
“Be gracious and patient with each other. And two, we have to move beyond the surface,” Alissia Young, organizer of the 48 Hours of Peace, said.
Alissia Young, with the Anti-Gun Violence Committee in Champaign, is a key organizer for the 48 Hours of Peace.
“We’ve seen so much violence and all of the heartache and all of the families that have gone through the loss of family members,” Young said.
She says it’s time to come together to pray for a change.
“This was the least we could do as the clergy. That it was definitely time for us to come together as one,” Young said.
She planned a teen summit for the weekend as well, hoping to get young people involved in the push for peace.
“We’re seeing a huge outcry from our youth in the community. That is exactly what they’re crying our for. They look for, they crave direction. They crave people being able to be there in their corner and knowing that someone is there with them,” Young said.
She and everyone here hope these next 48 hours are violence free.
“Lets just all come together and love and peace,” Young said.
The prayer was supposed to be outside tonight, but due to weather they were able to move it inside
As part of this event, there’s a teen summit tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It will be at Douglass Park.
HV Neighborhood Transformation is also holding a block party at Crystal Lake Park. It will be from noon to 5:00 p.m.