First AME Church of Los Angeles (FAME) has joined congregations of all denominations across the country in asking parishioners to wear black clothing to church services on Sunday, December 14, to demonstrate that “Black Lives Matter.”
The mantra has become one of the rallying cries of nationwide protests, as a result of recent, highly publicized police killings of unarmed Black men, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner and Akai Gurley in New York, Rumain Brisbon in Phoenix and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
“We want to be afforded the same type of justice to which others are afforded,” said Pastor J. Edgar Boyd.
“We stand in support of peaceful protests and nationwide calls for justice, transparency and meaningful and sustained police reform. We are calling for a review of law enforcement hiring criteria, augmentation of policies and practices, cultural awareness and sensitivity training and the hiring and deployment of law enforcement officers to reflect the communities in which they are assigned.”
The initiative, suggested by the Rt. Reverend John R. Bryant, senior Bishop of the AME Church, is another facet of the call to action by religious and civil rights leaders, community activists and ordinary citizens around the country.
On Sunday, pastors will talk about the events of the past couple of weeks, ask parishioners to support Black businesses during this Christmas season and hold a special Altar Call to pray for young men and boys.
At noon, attorneys at FAME will instruct young people on how to behave during peaceful protests. “We want young people to become empowered and remain engaged in activities that will benefit themselves as well as the entire community,” said Pastor Boyd.
First A.M.E. Church is located at 2270 South Harvard Boulevard in Los Angeles. For information, call (323) 730-7750.