Peaceful protests continue in Thomasville, business owners react - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Peaceful protests continue in Thomasville, business owners react

There was another prayer vigil Friday night in Thomasville, as residents still demanded answers. (Source: WALB) There was another prayer vigil Friday night in Thomasville, as residents still demanded answers. (Source: WALB)
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

There was another prayer vigil Friday night in Thomasville, as residents still demanded answers.

Most of the prayers were for law enforcement and the family of a man who the GBI say was shot and killed by a Thomas County deputy earlier this week while the drug unit was serving a search warrant.

Several residents prayed for peace saying this is not a time for violence or racial bigotry but a time to pray that justice will prevail. 

A night of prayer for many residents who want their city to rise above the hate.

"We want to come together to have peace and love and even in the demonstrations show love, show integrity," said Maria Blatch-Dunigan, attendee.

Dunigan was one of many residents who took to Kingdom Ambassador Ministries alter to pray for the community.

Dunigan believes that through the power of prayer, justice will be served.

"We're headed in the right direction as long as there's peace and respect for law enforcement officers as well as respect for us as a community," said Dunigan.

Earlier this week, dozens of residents took to the streets protesting their concerns after the GBI said a Thomas County Sheriff deputy shot and killed Herbert Gilbert, 37, while serving a search warrant Tuesday. 

Assistant Pastor William Harris hopes the service will bring closure.

"Prayer changes things, prayer brings people together, prayer heals people," said Harris.

And unite as one.

"Everybody is fault finding, and everybody is blaming, pointing but God wants us to come together as a people," said Delesa Patterson Harris, Pastor of Kingdom Ambassador Ministries.

Kingdom Ambassador Ministries are asking other churches to lead by example and help reunite the town. 

There's been talk of a protest on Monday led by Black Lives Matters chapter in Atlanta, but we have yet to confirm that time. 

HOW BUSINESSES ARE RESPONDING

A handful of downtown shops in Thomasville are teaming up to show their solidarity.

Fuzzy Goat, Courtney Couture, Bookshelf and several other storefronts and restaurants are donating 10 percent of weekend sales to the Boys and Girls Club.

Store owners said it was important to use this time as a time to unite.

But most importantly, they want to give back to kids while the community is hurting. 

"Not be at odds with each other because there's just a lot of love here. We want to be the city that handles these tragedies differently," said Candance Kidwell, owner of Fuzzy Goat.

"A lot of hate is going on and I felt like I could add some love to it because love is going to get us back to where we need to be," said Kendra Carter, owner of Courtney Couture.

Some owners say traffic has been slow in light of the protests earlier this week but they welcome everyone to come support the cause. 

Several businesses handed out water and Gatorade to residents who demonstrated this week. 

Smith Collective owner Erin Smith was one who believes it was a simple way to unite the community. 

Smith said many residents believe that downtown shops aren't very welcoming. 

And she and several others wanted to change that misconception by offering protesters water to cool off. 

Smith wants to remind customers that her business is inclusive. 

"We just want people to know who are protesting, obviously we want peaceful protests. But if you're hot and thirsty we definitely want you to come in and grab and be on your way. We want everyone to know that it really is a one love situation," said Smith.

Smith said she plans to hand out more water and Gatorade to any other residents who choose to protest next week. 

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