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Religious leaders call for justice and peace ahead of verdict in Rittenhouse case

A prayer vigil was held just a few blocks away from where deliberations are taking place.
Image: Jury Deliberates In Kyle Rittenhouse Trial
A supporter of Kyle Rittenhouse, left, confronts a Black Lives Matter supporter in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on Tuesday. Nathan Howard / Getty Images

KENOSHA, Wis. — Faith-based leaders called for justice and peace Tuesday as the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial deliberated his fate.

The Congregations United to Serve Humanity, an interfaith coalition, gathered for a prayer vigil at Library Park, just a few blocks from where deliberations were taking place.

“Love has called us here today. Love called us to walk from Kenosha to Milwaukee. Love has called us time and time again as we continue to show up for each other,” said the Rev. Monica  L. Cummings of Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist at the gathering. “Love will continue to call us as we await the verdict.”

Kevin Beebe, pastor of Spirit Alive Lutheran Church
Kevin Beebe, pastor of Spirit Alive Lutheran Church, speaks Tuesday during a prayer vigil at Library Park in Kenosha, Wis. Deon Hampton / NBC News

Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with intentional homicide and reckless homicide after shooting three men, killing two, on Aug. 25, 2020.

The victims and Rittenhouse were in the streets of Kenosha as social justice demonstrations erupted after a white Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

“We’re standing in solidarity with the victims and the parents of the victims as well as combating the system,” said the Rev. David Sinclair, a member of the coalition and the Milwaukee regional director of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. “We also want to stand for peace and uplift the community.”

He said the community is hoping for a fair trial and for "justice to be served."

Patrick Roberts, pastor at First Baptist Church, called for peace after the verdict.

“We can’t control what goes on in the courtroom, but what we can influence is the behavior of the people and how they view what happens in the courtroom,” Roberts said.

During the vigil, ministers offered words of encouragement and said their mission will continue long after the trial ends.

“Regardless of the verdict, our community has been rocked by the stench of death on our streets, by fires that have burned down our city and thrust us into the spotlight,” said Kevin Beebe, pastor of Spirit Alive Lutheran Church.

After the trial, there will still be injustices to address, he said.

“We want people to live in harmony,” Beebe said.