PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hundreds of people gathered in Downtown Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon for a Prayer for Peace event.
Mayor Bill Peduto spoke to hundreds of people who stood in front of the City County Building on Grant Street.
“We’re here today for one simple reason,” Peduto said. “Where there is hate, we are going to show love. Where there is darkness, we are going to show light. And where there are people feeling upset and scared, we are going to give them security.”
The event organized by the mayor’s office was called “A Prayer for Pittsburgh, A Prayer for Peace.”
Those representing every religious community in Pittsburgh, every political party, every ethnic group, every age and all sexual preferences were all present, and they had come for the same reason.
“I needed to be sure that I stood for love and against hate, just wanted to make sure my presence was here for that,” Jennifer Wood, of Aliquippa, said.
“I was feeling very helpless, like I didn’t have a way to take action and respond to what was so distressing this week — what happened in Charlottesville and the reaction of our president — so I wanted to be with like-minded people,” Barbara Taylor, of the East End, said.
Gwen Archiball, of Brookline, was also in the crowd.
“I think we all had the need to come out today to make ourselves better. To build a better community, to be peace and loving to everyone and stop the hatred,” she said.
The event was born out of the violent and fatal protests in Charlottesville, Va., and the fear of violence at planned rallies outside Google facilities.
Although the March on Google in Bakery Square was postponed due to the threats of violence, another rally is scheduled in the East End. It will begin at Dana’s Bakery on North Homewood Avenue at 1 p.m.
The Black Brilliance Collective March and Gathering Against Racism and Hatred will end a few blocks away at Westinghouse Park, also known as Malcolm X Park.
Mayor Peduto says precautions are in place.
“Public Safety has been making precautions to anticipate the worst, but hope for the best,” he said. “There will be a number of officers in uniform and not in uniform at all different locations, and there will be back-up.”
Several other events are also planned for Saturday.