After the last couple of “vigils” resulted in protesters clashing with the DPD, the next vigil is taking place next Sunday at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. This time, it’s being organized by The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham:
A Prayer Vigil to honor the life of Jesus Huerta will be held on January 19, 2014, 6:45 PM, in the main sanctuary of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 810 West Chapel Hill Street. Durham, NC 27701. Mr. Huerta died from a gunshot wound in the backseat of a Durham Police patrol car on November 19, 2013. He was 17 years old and a student at Riverside High School. The Prayer Vigil will be led by the Franciscan friars of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. The purpose of the prayer vigil is to honor Jesus Huerta with our presence and prayer, to offer comfort to his family, friends and neighbors, and to affirm the peace with us. All faiths and ages welcome. The service will not include a March and will respect the dignity of all members of the Durham community. The vigil is sponsored by the Huerta family, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN), El Centro Hispano, and Durham Congregations In Action.
My take? This is a smart move. By bringing in religious leaders early and stating the scope of the event up front, there’s a clear message that they want to deescalate things.
One thing to keep in mind though: Immaculate Conception is only half a mile from DPDHQ. While the intentions might be for a peaceful vigil, and holding it at the Church might give some troublemakers a bit of pause, that’s no guarantee that agitators won’t still try to stir things up.