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'Use our power for non-violence' | A Sacramento pastor's message to protesters

“My heart is hurting just like those in the community," said Les Simmons, South Sacramento Christian Center Pastor.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The death of George Floyd and the pain of the Sacramento community has a left its mark on Les Simmons, a pastor with South Sacramento Christian Center and leader with Sacramento ACT.

“My heart is hurting just like those in the community,” said Simmons. “I’m in the community. I’m a black man. I have kids. My heart is definitely hurting and we do have to create that sacred space to really come together, to mourn, to lament, to get through and ultimately to push for change.”

He said Sacramento has recently been through the pain of the death of Stephon Clark, and it can use the lessons it has learned moving forward.

“I think we have learned how to get through moments like this,” admitted Simmons. “I think this is an opportunity for us to use the kind of playbook that we saw around Stephon Clark but... take it further.”

Simmons said he knows healing will take work.

“I think we have to get to some sort of place though, where we get some healing cream,” said Simmons. “That healing cream has to be one where we’re really focused on how do we get... through this with our shared values of calling wrong, wrong. I think if we can do that as a community, as faith leaders- as community leaders-, then we start to put the right narrative out there that we’re in this space together.”

He said change is inevitable.

“I think we have to really lean in this moment and create a path forward that’s inclusive of change,” said Simmons. “I think there’s nothing but change in front of us. If we choose to believe that we can really create an inclusive community, a community that is supported, a community that has the resources and a community that, when it sees wrong, we all collectively call wrong, wrong.”

Simmons said he had a message for protesters.

“I would really encourage us to use our power for non-violence. I encourage us to use our collective and shared values in lifting up what that path forward looks like and put our arms around those that are sheltered in place with and support each other through this moment,” said Simmons.

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WATCH ALSO: Sacramento George Floyd protests turn destructive: 11 p.m. update, 05/31/2020