Thousands of protesters joined in a Sunday prayer near the White House as part of a demonstration organized by Alfred Street Baptist Church and the NAACP.
The prayer walk kicked off at 6 a.m. at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and ended at Black Lives Matter Plaza, near the White House.
Organizers said on a website for the prayer walk that masks were required and that “safe social distancing” would be enforced.
Alfred Street Pastor Howard-John Wesley gave a sermon as marchers filled Black Lives Matter Plaza, a two-block-long section of downtown D.C. renamed by Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier this month after “Black Lives Matter” was painted on the street amid protests over George Floyd’s death.
“We pray you would poke and prick the hearts of this nation,” Wesley said as a few thousand marchers knelt or touched their foreheads to the ground in prayer, according to The Washington Post.
“Oh God show yourself strong as you did that Sunday in Jerusalem,” he reportedly added, referring to the story of Christ’s resurrection. “Show yourself in Minneapolis! In Atlanta! In Washington! Lord I want to see my sons grow! God show yourself strong!”
As demonstrators walked up 15th Street NW, they paused at stations where people could pray for “affordable health care,” for “victims of police brutality” and for “the courage to speak truth to power,” the Post reported.
Organizers also reportedly called out reminders for protesters to maintain distance through speakers.
The event organized by the church followed weeks of protests in D.C. and across the country over racial inequality and police brutality sparked by the killing of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last month in Minneapolis police custody after a white officer knelt on his neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn't breathe. The officer and three others were fired and charged.