Houstonians held prayer vigil for AZ victims

January 10, 2011 11:27:43 AM PST
The entire nation marked a moment of silence today to remember Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the 19 other people shot in the weekend rampage in Tucson. That moment of silence took place in conjunction with the nation's moment of silence at 10am. It lasted about 25 minutes in downtown Houston at the Leeland Federal Building on Smith Street. There were about five dozen people who attended the prayer vigil.

Pastor Bill Lawson, who is a prominent church leader in the community, led the public prayer as well as Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. They each spoke briefly, condemning the violence in Arizona against Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and against government leaders in general.

Many who came out today say they wanted to show unity and spread a message of peace.

"I think it's a time for the whole community to take the time, a minute, to think that we are all human beings and to leave hate aside," said attendee Maria Xiquin.

"This is a tragedy," said attendee Beverly Ortiz. "Looking at a public event where a congress person is talking to the community is expressing what is going on and is connected to her community constituents and not being able to do that in a safe environment and I think there needs to be something that needs to be done."

This is one of the first public appearances for both Congressman Al Green and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee since Saturday's shooting. There was security presence at the prayer vigil. Both lawmakers have made a point saying they will not be driven by fear at these public events. Representative Green said he will choose his words more carefully in the public arena moving forward.