Prayer service held in Cleveland at the site of new Black Lives Matter mural

Updated: Jun. 28, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A local pastor brings hundreds of people together to pray for unity and justice in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood.

It was a prayer service like no other as it was held outside on Cleveland’s East side. The community has come together over the past several weeks to paint a mural that says Black Lives Matter on East 93rd Street and Bessemer.

Pastor Christopher Washburn of The Greater Whitestone Church says, “If Black Lives Matter Cleveland why y’all killing each other? Put the guns down!”

Pastor Washburn grew up in the East 93rd Street area and that’s where he preaches today. As he led the prayer service with the mural of Black Lives Matter recently painted on the street as the backdrop, he wanted to give the hundreds of people gathered something to think about.

A neighboring pastor also had something to say, “We are here in recent days because we have endured blatant racism from the White House, injustice from the Courthouse, and brutality from the Jail House.”

But there are times where it is people in our own community who have committed crimes against our loved ones. Many of those victims like 34-year-old Willie Barnes, Junior have their names as part of the Black Lives Matter Mural as well. His mother cried as she saw it, and was too upset to speak.

But her friend J.D. Coult did. Coult of Pepper Pike said, “I wanted to come down and show her support and also show my daughter that this is important. We need to step up and create the change that needs to happen.”

So why the mural in this area, some say this is a community that feels forgotten about.

Blaine Griffin is the Ward 6 Councilman for Cleveland, “We’re going to fight for this Community to be safe, we’re going to for this Community to be vibrant, we’re going to make sure Black Lives Matter on East 93rd.”

East 93rd Street at Bessemer Avenue might not open for another week, but when it does, sources say the city is considering taking it down to one lane in each direction so that cars don’t drive over the new mural.

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