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Bethel AME dedicates service to healing “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Rev. Robert Cox

Rev. Robert Cox

By Peggy Hunt

Does the man in a sweatshirt with a hood look like he is up to something?

It’s Rev. Robert Cox, pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 955 S. “F” Street in Oxnard.

Rev. Cox stood in the pulpit wearing sweat gear, now called a ‘hoodie’ during the Sunday, July 21 service. Cox took a nonviolent stand against the murder of Trayvon Martin and remarked, “A hoodie is not a weapon.”

Inside the A.M.E. church, music filled the air. But their hearts were heavy. The Sunday service was dedicated to healing and answering the questions: ‘Where do we go from here?’ and ‘What the verdict means to me?’

“Healing begins with dialogue,” said Rev. Cox. “You must be able to speak out about this injustice.”

Members were encouraged to share their thoughts, experiences and fears for their kids as it related to the Trayvon Martin verdict.
One member Joe Richards commented, “We have gotten comfortable in our environments and have dropped the ball on educating our kids. Kids need to know the laws, when to push and when to shut up.”

Another member Rev. Von Beatty said when he heard the verdict he thought of three things: “We need to vote, serve on juries and have God in our lives.”

“If we want change to take place, we have to step up and do our job. In our system we step up by voting and putting good people in office. We must step up and prepare our young people. When and if they are stopped by cops, there is a certain way to behave. As a Christian, you and I are responsible [of reminding] people of God’s goodness and that God can change things.”

Sha’ran Harvey shared about a recent trip to Oakland where she was asked by a youth attending their family reunion, “Why is this happening? If I had done that, there is no question of where I would be.” She stated in her heart she knew the answer, but could not answer him.

“It is important that we make a statement about Trayvon Martin and about the verdict that was rendered,” said Rev. Cox. “The ‘Stand Your Ground’ law needs to be repealed. We stand in support of our children who deserve better than [being] stigmatized and stereotyped.”

“We must teach our young people not to give up and how to press on. We have to make a difference in the world that we want our children to grow up in. We need to make sure that our children can be all that God wants them to be.”

Rev. Cox asked in closing, “Where do we go from here?” Cox replied, “We come back to God. God will lead us. Our lives are still being shaped by God.”we need to do. We need to vote, serve of juries and have God in our life.”

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