Looting, damage cannot distract from protest’s message: Local religious leaders

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Pastor Marlowe Washington with the Seneca United Methodist Church was among hundreds who protested peacefully in downtown Rochester Saturday.

“I’ve never attended a protest where it was so colorful, so hopeful,” said Washington.

The peaceful demonstrations escalated in the late afternoon. Washington says he was distraught over looting and damage within the community.

“I do not agree with that. I do not agree with that type of looting, and that type of reckless thinking and mindset,” said Washington.

Members of the Islamic Center of Rochester also spoke out against the violence in the protest. Tabassam Javed, the Center’s president says looting shifts the dialogue from what’s really important.

“I’m totally for the peaceful protest, because many of our community members did go and protest. But absolutely do not condone the violence. Because what it does is, it changes the face of the message,” said Javed.

And that message: a plea for police reform. Washington believes the negative headlines won’t distract from that.

“I think truthfully that this message is not lost. It’s just lost for 24 hours, but I think we’re going to return and turn that angle around, so that, because the issue is police reforming. The issue is community policing relationship,” said Washington.

“The most important message is: let there be justice,” added Javed.

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