Mayor hosts Tallahassee Community Vigil in light of recent tragedies

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By: Erin Lisch
July 12, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Last week's deadly shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas continue to rock our nation.

Here at home, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says he hopes to keep the community united.

Tuesday, the mayor hosted a Tallahassee Community Vigil at First Presbyterian Church.

Faith leaders say it's not one side versus the other -- it's about staying strong together.

People of all ages, races and religions convene in a place of prayer.

Two young black men dead, and 5 police officers gunned down within a week.

Mayor Andrew Gillum says we can't turn a blind eye, "When we ignore instances like this, is where we create the kind of fertile breeding ground for tensions to grow and for resentment to build."

Resentment has grown for some protesters who, at the same time as the vigil, laid down in the streets of Tallahassee in protest.

Local faith leaders say peace must come with protest.

First Presbyterian Church Pastor Brant Copeland said, "I celebrate them for their protests, so long as it's peaceful of course, but I also think we should have empathy for public servants who protect us as well."

Life Changers COGIC Pastor Judy Mandrell said, "We can't act like it doesn't exist, it does exist. I believe we can live better together."

Mayor Gillum says, trust must continue to be built between law enforcement and the people.

"When trust is disrupted, it's bad for law enforcement but it's also bad for the people they vow to protect," Gillum says.

In these tough times, faith leaders are encouraging community members to join hands with one another.

"Forgive, I know it may be hard right now but it's going to happen... forgive, forgive and love, and eventually we're going to get this thing right," said Pastor Mandrell.

Not only for the capital city, but for the entire country.