Communities, pastors call for peace after Zimmerman verdict - New York News

Communities, pastors call for peace after Zimmerman verdict

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SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Local pastors are calling for peace -- no matter what the verdict is in the George Zimmerman trial.

Members of Sanford Pastors Connecting will meet on Friday to update their plan for peace. However, one law enforcement agency in South Florida has already implemented part of their plan.

Broward Sheriff's Office posted a public service announcement titled "Raise Your Voice, Not Your Hands." The clip features teenagers, deputies, and basketball star James Jones of the championship Miami Heat team.   The PSA was created to encourage young people not to let their emotions get the best of them, according to the sheriff.

"We've trained for this," said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. "We're prepared for this, and we want to make sure everybody's on the same page."

Sheriff Israel said he doesn't have any specific information about possible riots following the conclusion of the trial, but said that his deputies will be prepared nonetheless.

"There's no reason to believe there is going to be any civil unrest of any kind but if (Judge) Murphy decides to visit, we want to make sure we're all on the same page."

The campaign also includes social media. Viewers are asked to use hash tag #raiseyourvoice on Twitter.

Sheriff Israel met with clergy on Tuesday to keep the lines of communication open in South Florida. Meanwhile, pastors in Central Florida are doing the same thing.

"The pastors in the Seminole County and Sanford area are meeting on a regular basis," said Rev. Charlie Holt.

Rev. Holt is the pastor of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lake Mary. He's also a member of Sanford Pastors Connecting.

"I think we can be proactive in our responses and look for ways to look within and summon up the better responses," said Rev. Holt. "We don't have to respond to things negatively."

Rev. Holt has sat in the courtroom several times during the trial. He'll be back on Thursday. He's looking  to give those who may not agree with the verdict a reminder of safe and legal ways to deal with anger.

"The issues are deep within our community deal with race, justice, violence, youth violence-- all of the issues that have been raised by this case," said Rev. Holt. "They're not just issues of law. Government can't solve it. We've got to get to the heart."

It's work that will continue even after the verdict is read. There will be a noon prayer service on Monday at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lake Mary, along with several other services held at churches in the area.

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