HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Community members of all ages, races and backgrounds came together for a prayer walk in hopes their unity will spark change in Henrico County Sunday.
For more than a month, protests across the nation and in Central Virginia have been happening. Many in response to instances of police violence and advocating for social justice for Black and Brown people.
"We can be the change that we want to see in the world," Janiel Youngblood said. "By us coming together in fellowship and showing love to one another, that is the way we can then show change into the world... Being able to listen to one another. Hear the hurt of each other and being open minded to get a new perspective."
Youngblood, who is the owner of the church financial consulting firm Youngblood and Associates, said the "One Mile One Mission" prayer walk was an idea she felt came from God.
"In the midst of all the racial unrest that was happening, [this is] just a way to promote love and unity," Youngblood said. "I thought that having an opportunity to be active outside and walking and having an opportunity where people are literally walking in love and together, being able to listen to one another and open dialogue. I thought that was really important to actually show love, not just talk about it but actually walk it out."
Youngblood said shared the idea with her parent prayer group at Grove Christian School and the head of the school immediately joined in to help.
"We felt like it was time to connect with the community," Grove Christian's Head of School Julia Lloyd said. "Janiel had the vision and I said well it fits the vision with what we want to do with tomorrow's leaders, so how do we help."
Word about the prayer walk began to spread and nearly 100 people participated by walking twice around the soccer field at Deep Run Park -- or by walking a mile in their own neighborhoods.
"All of these people here, represent the hope that is in Christ alone," Lloyd said. "There is not a man, a person, a leader who can do the racial healing for us. What we can do is ask the power of God Himself to give us the power to be partnering with him in healing. As the John 17:23 verse says, this was the last thing Jesus said before he was crucified, that they may be completely one. So that they may completely know the love, God has for all of us."
Youngblood and Lloyd believe the next generation will be the change the world needs.
"We realize there are things happening that we would not want to happen... but the more we can use what we are seeing in our classroom and community of believers and spread that out to others that’s the goal," Youngblood said. "I want our children, I want my children to know to love people for who they are. Not just what they look like."
If you missed Sunday's One Mile One Mission event, organizers are planning for another prayer walk in July. Click here to email email@example.com for more information.