By Autumn Nichols, Contributing Writer

BAKERSFIELD, Ca — The MLKcommUNITY Initiative & CRIME Task Force held a prayer vigil with the intent to bring hope, unity, and awareness to our community.

One week following Daunte Wright, a 20 year old Black man, being fatally shot by a police officer,  Local Pastors, Community Leaders, and more came together alongside The Bakersfield Police Department.  During a Prayer Vigil, community members gathered on the steps of the Bakersfield Police Department  at 1601 Truxtun Avenue, on Sunday, April 19th at 5:00pm, in efforts to spread a message of love and hope.

The word “love” was echoed in prayer and messages of change were delivered by  Pastor Jordan, Dr. Greg Tatum, Isaiah Crompton, Community Leader Arleana Waller, Pastor Angelo Fraizer, Pastor Darlene Williams, Mayor Karen Goh, and Bakersfield Police Department Chief Terry. 

Standing in solidarity to support our police, Pastor Tatum, suggested that we get a jumpstart and attempt to prevent potential problems before they occur.  “What we have to do is bring unity in prayer, and be more proactive ahead of the George Floyd outcome and the Daunte Wright situation.”  Tatum  in prayer goes on to say, “Let Bakersfield become a model city of unity ; that police, community leaders, people of color, and people with diverse backgrounds could work together.”

When speaking on working with the Sheriff and Police Department and trying to bring about change in this community, Isaiah Crompton believes transparency has allowed for progress to be made. In that same light, Pastor Angelo Frazier quotes, “Ephesians 4:25, which simply says we need to speak truth to each other. We need to be kind to each other. We need to forgive each other […] Love is what we need!”

Bakersfield Police Department Chief Terry proclaimed,  “As chief I declare that we are going to serve with compassion, accountability, and professionalism. When it’s not right, we’re going to do better, we’re going to make it right.”  In prayer, he persisted, “I pray also as we serve our community, help us to serve with open hearts, having compassion, helping those that are in need and building trust where there is none.”

In the midst of civil unrest in the country, Bakersfield leaders wanted to have an opportunity to have an intimate time in prayer and be a beacon of light to the rest of the world.  Arleana Waller encourages, “Fall on your face before God and ask him to heal our nation. Pray like you’ve never prayed before.” A hopeful Pastor Jordan adds, “We can heal the city and we can come together with the police department to form unity, love, and peace.”