AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — A newly formed group of Black pastors and civic leaders called for peace and unity in Akron following the Jayland Walker decision.
A prayer vigil organized by the group is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 442 Bell St., Akron.
Tribal Trauma Triage, a group convened by Akron Deputy Mayor Marco Somerville, set a media conference for 1 p.m. Tuesday at The House of the Lord church along Diagonal Road.
Speaking Tuesday were Somerville, Bishop Joey Johnson, the church’s founder and pastor; and pastor Mike Irby, president of 100 Black Men of Akron.
Tribal Trauma Triage said Tuesday it wants to reach out to offer resources to those who may be grieving Walker’s death or struggling with their mental health following a grand jury’s Monday decision not to indict the eight officers involved in his June 2022 shooting death.
“Violence is not the way to justice,” said Johnson. “There are more ways for our voices to be heard. … There are many ways we can protest.”
Irby said he feels the community should be aware of how the younger generation of Black men will perceive their response to the tragedy — “what they see is what they’ll be,” he said.
“We need to share with our young Black men that they need to be positive. Things will get better as long as they’re positive,” he said. “We must be giving them positive feedback at this time … that there is going to be a tomorrow and there is going to be a future in the city of Akron.”