Tampa church holds vigil for unity, Charlottesville victims

- In the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, there was a call for unity Monday night in Tampa.

Allen Temple AME Church held a candlelight vigil called "Uniting Our Community with Love." People from all different faiths came together as one, standing against the violence that we've seen, not only in Charlottesville but other cities across the country. It's something they never want to see here.

The choir raised their voices high in praise at a time when many voices tremble. Candles shined some extra light during a dark time in this country.

After clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors escalated from angry words to deadly violence in Charlottesville, Rev. Glenn Dames of Allen Temple AME felt he had to do something to bring the city of Tampa together.

"There are some conversations that need to be had but we think they can be had with love," Dames said.

Wednesday night, people of all different faiths, races, and backgrounds prayed with one voice for peace in Charlottesville, in Tampa, and around the country.

"The only way we are going to move forward as a nation and be that beacon of hope for folks around the world is by working together as a family," said Capt. Calvin Johnson of Tampa Police Department.

The church took a collection for the three people who died Saturday in Charlottesville - Heather Heyer, Lieutenant Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke Bates.

Standing in solidarity with the brave men and women who protect cities in times of crisis, the church made a $500 donation to Tampa Police.

The intent of the vigil was to encourage people from all walks of life to find common ground, to end racism, and to cool feelings of hate before they fuel another tragedy.

"We refuse to hate each other," Dames said. "We are going to love because we believe love wins. So, at the end of the day, we come together, unify ourselves, look past our differences, not look over them but just look past them, embrace them, and say we are one."

"White, black, Hispanic, Jewish, gay, lesbian, Christian, Baptist, that's what makes Tampa strong," Johnson said.

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