HARLINGEN — A deep pain coupled with a feeling that our country is under siege right now led a pair of longtime friends to want to do something.
During the past two or more weeks, Pastor Donald Hamm of Kingdom Connection Worship Center in Brownsville and Harlingen’s Antonio Caldwell have been working to organize candlelight vigils in each community all in an effort to bring a message of unity, love, compassion, support, peace and prayer.
The approximate hour-long vigils – one which will be tonight in Harlingen and the other in Brownsville Thursday – come on the heels of recent tragedies in America and beyond.
It all started moving after the Las Vegas shooting.
“We just felt this pain inside,” Hamm said about hearing of the tragedy. “He (Antonio) contacted me at the same time I was thinking about doing something. We just decided to come together as a community and pull it together.”
During and after the vigil, the group will also pray for citizens, community and the country.
Hamm said initially, the vigil was going to focus on those harmed during the recent hurricanes and other natural disasters along with the shooting in Las Vegas.
“It has kind of evolved,” Hamm said. “As we posted on Facebook and have spoken to people, there were other things they wanted us to pray for – teenagers, our local officials and just so many other things coming out of this.”
But, for Caldwell, the focus is clear.
“There seems like there’s more division in our country and I wanted to promote unity, love, compassion – whatever we can do,” Caldwell said. “I am not sure anything like this has been done in our community. I want us to set the tone and provide an example.”
“In these tough times, we need to all come together as a community regardless of race, ethnicity, politics or social economic background,” Hamm said. “We need a forum where we can begin to put the pieces of our lives back together.”
The vigil is free and the public is urged to attend and participate.
Both start at 7 p.m. In Harlingen, it will be at Victor Park. In Brownsville, it will be at The Cross on Paredes Line Road, in front of the Event Center.
Local pastors will be in attendance with remarks by the Mayor of Harlingen, Chris Boswell, Cameron County Judge, Eddie Treviño, Jr. and other government officials.
“I am calling on all of you to make a conscious effort to attend to voice our united efforts to serve our communities and the life of this nation,” Caldwell said. “It’s going to take all of us, working together to heal our land.”
WHEN: Today, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Victor Park pavilion, 1601 S M St, Harlingen
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.
WHERE: at The Cross on Paredes Line Road, in front of the Event Center
WHY: To honor those affected by recent natural disasters, the shooting in Las Vegas and anyone who is in need of support right now.
HOW: These events are free and open to the public. There also will be music.