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City Hall ‘flash mob’ offers prayers, not menace

No fighting. No yelling. No running through the streets.

About 100 youth, pastors, and church leaders attend a "Youth Prayer Rally" at Dilworth Plaza Thursday afternoon. (Michael S. Wirtz / Staff Photographer)
About 100 youth, pastors, and church leaders attend a "Youth Prayer Rally" at Dilworth Plaza Thursday afternoon. (Michael S. Wirtz / Staff Photographer)Read more

No fighting. No yelling. No running through the streets.

Instead, there was a lot of praying and clapping among the almost 100 young adults and church leaders who gathered at City Hall today for a "prayer flash mob" to protest of the city's recent wave of teen melees.

Taking turns at the microphone, the teenagers and 20-somethings who spoke to the crowd decried the city's rampaging youngsters, and asked God to set troublemakers on a peaceful path.

"Whatever is going on in these young people's lives that they feel like they have to go against us, we ask that you come into their lives, God," asked 17-year-old Victoria Bennett, a student at West Philadelphia Catholic High School.

"This is the city of brotherly love," said Tatianna Lopez-Miller, 15, one of 13 who traveled to Philadelphia from Maryland with members of her church to take part in the gathering. "Lord, help us to show it."

District Attorney Seth Williams also took the mike for a few minutes, imploring students to stand up against peers who pressure them to take part in destructive activities.

"You have more power over yourself and your friends than any adult," he said. "I'm going to ask you to dare to be different. Don't always follow the crowd. Do what you know is right. Be leaders."

Today's prayer group was made up of members from at least 11 area and out-of-state churches. The students who attended are on spring break.