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More Than A Thousand Gather For Prayer Vigil In Downtown Lexington

Stu Johnson

A crowd estimated at more than a thousand gathered in downtown Lexington last night to remember the victims of hate crimes in Pittsburg and Louisville.  It was an evening filled with emotional speeches, songs, and religious rituals.

The two hour program began with a song Rabbi David Wirtshafter said was popularized during the 1960’s, remembering sacrifices of the civil rights period.

The event, originally scheduled for Temple Adath Israel, was moved to the Fayette Public Schools auditorium.  Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk says educators volunteering for the prayer vigil kept stressing a key point. “They told me to teach the children.  We all know that hate is learned.  It can be unlearned.  But, you know what else is learned.  Love,” said Caulk.

One of the largest ovations of the night came when Nadia Rasheed, a Muslim who’s active in many interfaith groups, spoke of standing up against fear and hatred. “I will not let this stop me.  After the election, I thought I was going to move to Canada, but I’m not.  I’m a fighter and I’m here to stay because this is my country,” noted Rasheed.

The ceremony including lighting candles for the 11 slain in the Pittsburg synagogue and the two African Americans fatally shot in what’s believed to be another hate crime in Louisville.

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