A group of clergy rallied elected officials and hundreds of New Yorkers last Wednesday for the “Jericho March” across the Brooklyn Bridge where they were joined by law enforcement groups and seen worshiping together in a video that has been viewed more than 1 million times.
Bishop Gerald G. Seabrooks of Rehoboth Cathedral in Bedford-Stuyvesant told Kings County Politics in an interview last week about the biblical meaning of Jericho.
“And if they did not tear down the walls of Jericho, division and separation, then they would not have received. Therefore, the walls of Jericho in our city need to come down. We see the walls of hatred, we see the walls of police brutality, we see the walls of redlining, we see the walls of miseducation. Our city needs God,” Seabrooks said about the purpose of the march.
The event, which started in Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn, and ended at City Hall was initially conceived by a coalition of black clergy who are calling for reforms to policing, healthcare and education. Sergeants Benevolent Association, a police union in New York City, also joined the march, describing it as a rally to "support law enforcement" as well as clergy, according to a flyer.
"This is a community that respects the police and wants peace," SBA President Ed Mullins told Gothamist about why they joined the march. "Police are the dividing line to keep them safe."
Videos of the march have been circulating online where hundreds are seen and heard singing the popular worship song “WayMaker.” The clip has amassed over 1 million views across various platforms.
As churchgoers marched across the iconic bridge, hundreds of NYPD officers — both retired and presently serving — also joined in and were seen wearing matching blue T-shirts.
Kings County Politics reported that different groups of marchers initially started on separate sides of each other but were united as they walked up the on-ramp to get on the bridge. Helicopters and police squad cars cleared a path on the bridge for marchers to peacefully walk. When the swarms of officers reached the Manhattan side of the bridge they were met by Occupy City Hall protesters who incited clashes with police.
Marchers were reportedly held ad bay on the ramp for 30 minutes and used it as an opportunity to pray out loud. As they prayed officers arrested 35 violent Occupy City Hall protesters.
“First and foremost you’re protesting God,” Tony Herbert, community leader and one of the Jericho March organizers told Kings County Politics in response to the violent protest. “At the end of the day, this is about New Yorkers, all New Yorkers, and nobody should be in the position to block that. So we’re good, we’re not deterred.”
Once things settled down, the Jerricho March convened in front of a constructed stage on top of a float where they held an outdoor church service. They shouted, “No Peace Without the Prince of Peace.”
Leader of Progressive Action, Tramell Thompson, helped organize the event with the United Clergy Coalition and took to Facebook afterward to share of the event. He said he found the ministry time extremely powerful but was confused by some police officers who thought the march was a “Blue Lives Matter” march.
There are photos of uniformed officers taking pictures and high-fiving pro-police marchers.
NYPD Chief Judith Harrison spoke at a subsequent rally and she said the Black Lives Matter counter-protesters could not stop the march.
"Do you know why they didn’t stop us?" Harrison declared, "because of the power of prayer.”