FAITH leaders in Baltimore have pleaded for calm after the death
of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died from spinal
injuries while in police custody.
In a statement released on the steps of the Episcopal Cathedral
of the Incarnation, Baltimore, they urged "all citizens of good
will to remain calm and to express their anger and frustration in
peaceful and constructive ways".
They asked all faith communities to stand outside their places
of worship for a minute's silence this weekend.
Protests have broken out daily since the death of Mr Gray on 19
April, and a curfew has been imposed from 10 p.m across the city.
Police fired gas canisters into the remaining crowds to force them
Fires were lit across the city, and a centre run by Baltimore
Southern Baptist Church was set alight.
The faith leaders said that the city had "immense" challenges to
"Too many feel unvalued, and the absence of adequate economic
opportunities, affordable housing, drug-treatment resources, and
other social safeguards have resulted in a growing sense of
hopelessness in our community. Now, more than ever, there is the
need for deliberate conversation, accountability, respect, and
unity of purpose.
"The issues before us will not be satisfactorily resolved until
every man, woman, and child in our city and nation are treated with
the human dignity deserving of all God's children, and until all
vestiges of the sins of discrimination, prejudice and racism are
wiped from the face of the earth."