Richmond church calls on prayer following Zimmerman verdict - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Richmond church calls on prayer for healing following Zimmerman verdict

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The national reaction to the George Zimmerman case is also affecting many in Central Virginia.

There continues to be strong emotions on this story and no matter what side of the fence you're on - approval or outrage - political experts say the name Trayvon Martin is one we won't soon forget.

"I think there will be a lot more good that comes out of this than just this moment of a not guilty verdict," says Rev. Emory Berry, Pastor of Fourth Baptist in Churchill.

He's just back from Florida- after worshiping Sunday at the same church where Trayvon Martin's mother attends.

"Obviously the family is still grieving the loss of a very precious member of their family," he said.

So are people who watched the case unfold. It's why Berry is organizing a community prayer meeting Wednesday. His focus is to change the perspective of teens who aren't taking the verdict well.

"Many have expressed to me that their lives don't have the same value and worth as other cultures and nationalities," Berry said.

It's a topic that has political experts weighing in.

"If we start demonizing George Zimmerman, I don't think that's helpful," said Dr. Andrea Simpson who heads the Political Science department at the University of Richmond.

"To lose a child this way is especially difficult. Your child was not sick. Your child was not in an accident. Something happened to him that was unnecessary," she explained.

In time, Dr. Simpson believes Zimmerman can play a pro-active role in helping the nation heal.

"My hope is Mr. Zimmerman sees the collective grief of all kinds of Americans, black, white, and certainly Latino and Latina and find a way to make his contribution," she said.

This as protests and prayer pave the way for a national conversation.

"There may be a new law that's created. It may be called the Trayvon Martin [law]. You never know what the bigger picture is going to be….to help people understand this is not the end of the story, this is just a point in the story," Berry said.

Monday, Rep. Bobby Scott issued a statement calling Martin's death a senseless tragedy. He says it's time for Congress to implement tougher gun laws, adding it would help honor Trayvon Martin's legacy.

The organizers of Sunday's Richmond rally are also planning a call to action forum and community cookout to promote unity in response to the Zimmerman verdict.

Wednesday's prayer event will begin at 6:30 at Fourth Baptist, located at 2800 P Street in Richmond.

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