trial isn't even over yet, but a group of clergy is already asking residents to control their emotions in advance. An afternoon news conference was held at the greater Abyssnia Baptist Church on E. 105th Street to discuss what may happen in the future.
"We're very concerned about the peace and stabilization of Cleveland right now, very concerned," said Pastor Larry Harris, president of
Cleveland pastors want the city to remain calm and keep order, regardless of the trial's outcome. They ask that any post verdict demonstration starts and remains peaceful.
"They need to be thoughtful. They need to be nonviolent and they need to do it in a way that brings about peace and justice that they desire," said Bishop Tony Minor.
Khalid Samad from Peace in the Hood says there has been no chatter on the streets, regarding violence after the verdict, and recent protests in Cleveland have remained peaceful. Still, these leaders say they'd rather be cautious and plan ahead.
"You have to be proactive. You have to already be engaged and involved in part of these groups, and that's why it sets Cleveland apart from some other cities," said Samad.
At the time of the verdict, faith-based leaders will be on the streets and churches will be open for anyone wanting to discuss the outcome. Leaders emphasize they are not discouraging activism, only asking that it's structured as they continue to reach out.
"We are aware that forces outside and inside of our city are working to bring a negative view of Cleveland to the rest of the world. We want to stress how important it is for all of us to remain in a state of calm as we dialogue and respond to whatever the decision of the court," said Harris.
In an effort to get their point across, representatives of the
Baptist Ministers Conference of Cleveland and Vicinity
, Baptist Pastor's Council of Cleveland, Cleveland Pentecostal Connection and Nation of Islam came together Monday as a united front appealing to the citizens of Cleveland.