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Rev Najuma Message at Los Angeles City Hall

Mayor Garcetti: I like to ask Reverend Najuma Pollard Smith, who is a dear friend, and who has the memories as we all do that were around then of what happened in the city in 1992, to say some words of peace and counsel to our City of Angels.

Reverend Najuma Pollard-Smith: Good afternoon. It was just nearly 30 years ago, May 31st, 1992. I remember sitting in Fame Church as a member, choir member, usher board member and listening to my father and ministry, Reverend Doctor Cecil L. "Chip" Murray, speak to us as we were wrestling with the 92 civil unrest, the outcome of the Rodney King verdict and his words were so powerful in the way in which he spoke to us about being asked the question to wait a minute. He said to us, we don't wait a minute, that a minute is too long in times like these. And so to those who are feeling the pain and the grief of this season, we stand with you.


It is the right thing to stand up. It is the right thing to speak up. It should not be that nearly 30 years later, we're still facing this issue. We should be speaking truth to power. Tomorrow represents Pentecost Sunday and Pentecost doesn't just represent the promise, it also represents a season of protests and power because what we do know is at some point shortly thereafter the moment of Pentecost, Peter gets up and begins to speak truth to power. So it's right to speak truth to power. It's right to stand up for what's right. It's right to speak. It's right to speak now. It's right to not wait, but we have to do it with responsibility.Pentecost is also about power and as many of you, I am tired of hashtagging rest in power to black bodies, men, women, boys, girls. I'm tired of rest in power.


My role in this season is to encourage people to live in power. We were given power. We must live in power. We must speak in power. We must stand in power. We must gather together in power, but power has a responsibility and so as we do that, we must do it responsibly.To all of the parents, I am one of those parents who's lost a black son in the streets, so I know your pain. I know your anger. I know your frustration. To the families, we got you. I understand. I've been there. I know what it's like to deal with a system that doesn't necessarily take the victim and their family at first. I understand that.


So yes, in power we stand, in power we speak, in power we rise up, but power has a responsibility and I'm tired of hashtagging rest in power. I want to live in power. I want you all to live in power. Dr. Murray, when he spoke thirty years ago, wanted us to stand and speak and to live in power.To the protesters, protest in power and power is not always given, sometimes you have to take it back. So we stand in power, we speak in power, we live in power and that's the right thing to do.


To all of my faith leaders, my colleagues who are faith leaders, the clergy of every kind, of every faith tradition... I'm just one of y'all. I'm just one, but there's many out there, many leaders out there, and we should be speaking in power, speaking truth to power, standing in power, but power has responsibility for all of us and we have to do that with responsibility when we take back our power because like you, I'm tired of #restinpower. I want me, my children, my grandchildren, to live in power.


To those that are creating mayhem, we ask you to take a step back and let those who are fighting for the power to come under unjustice, take a step back and let those who are protesting in power, let those who are standing and speaking in power, let them do their work. We don't need no more mayhem. We've been there, done that. My prayer is that we all would live in power, stand in power, speak in power because it is that time. And we're not waiting. We don't have to wait, but we want to live in power and we can do that. If we work together. We can do that if we stand together. We can do that if we use our power responsibly.


Power has a responsibility. And so some 30 years later here we are again, but this time, we're going to stand. We're going to stand, we're going to speak and we're going to live in power, but we're going to do it responsibly. God bless you and thank you.

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