Black pastor: Use the legal system, not divisive rhetoric

Thursday, July 18, 2013
Charlie Butts (

A black pastor is calling for an end to violence in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Rev. William Owens, who heads the Coalition of African-American Pastors, says America needs to look for the good – because there is a seed of good in everything – build on it ... and if change is needed, bring it about in a lawful way.

Owens, William (CAAP)“I think we have to look back on history and see that for hundreds of years African-Americans were mistreated on all levels, but we never won battles through violence,” he points out. “We won our civil rights through the courts – and there is a system in place to address all of the problems facing America.”

Owens maintains that regardless of one's view on the verdict handed down last week in the Zimmerman trial, grievances must be addressed within the legal system.

“We're all Americans. We may have come on different boats to America, but we're in the same boat now,” he states. “So I advise everybody [and] I suggest that if we have a grievance, if you feel that the decision was wrong, use lawful means to address it – not violence in any form or fashion.”

Perpetuating violence in the culture, says Owens, only sends the wrong message to children. “We are only confusing [them] when we use violence instead of peaceful protest to change the culture and the law,” he concludes.

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