Violent images of Baltimore protesters looting stores and destroying property flooded television screens across the nation on Monday. They were reacting to the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal injury while in police custody.
But at the same time, faith leaders in the city were working hard to bring peace to the streets of their beloved city.
In a powerful display of interfaith solidarity, more than 100 clergy members from local Christian churches and from the Nation of Islam linked arms and marched toward a police line.
Periodically, they stopped to kneel and pray.
“These are the top leaders of the religious community,” WBAL-TV reporter Deborah Weiner said as a helicopter captured the dramatic scene from above. “They are putting themselves in harm’s way to end the violence.”
When the faith leaders reached a line of police in riot gear, they reportedly convinced the officers to follow them back up the street and toward the places where the violence was taking place -- effectively acting as a barrier between the rioters and the police.
The clergy members told Weiner that there has been a crisis in Baltimore County even before the governor declared an official state of emergency -- an emergency of poverty, unemployment, and disenfranchisement from the political process.
“Our best sermon right now is not anything we say but what we do,” Rev. Heber Brown, pastor of Maryland’s Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, told HuffPost.
Watch the powerful scene in the WBAL-TV video above.
Also on The Huffington Post:
Re-Thinking Non-Violent Resistance (PODCAST)