Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church’s women’s ministry is holding the rally in Glover Park on the Marietta Square between 6 and 7 p.m. for Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman on Feb. 26.
“(The rally) was something that was dropped into my spirit,” women’s ministry director Cynthia Watkins said. “This is not a protest. It’s supposed to be an event where we display our love for, our hope for and our support for all children.”
Zimmerman has said he shot the 17-year-old in self-defense but Martin’s family says otherwise, sparking protests nationwide. The case is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.
“Watching things unfold in Florida, one thing that came to my attention was that while there are numerous protests, the piece that seems to be missing is the prayer,” she said. “As an African-American, middle-aged woman, I remembered the church being involved in things that were unjust in the community.”
Watkins has distributed more than 1,000 fliers since Sunday and reached out to almost every church in the Marietta, Smyrna and Kennesaw areas, asking for their members to attend the prayer rally this weekend.
“Our hope and expectation is that the park will be filled,” she said. “We just want people to come out, bring their children and come out with open hearts. The one thing I’ve always said is that we if we can change the hearts of people, we can change the minds of people.”
Former state Rep. Pat Dooley of Marietta, a member of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, plans to attend the rally.
“I think it’s such a sad, sad statement of race relations in this country,” she said. “I think that we need to turn to God to get some improvements.”