The second vigil, or continuation of the first,
took place the following night. They started gathering around 10:30pm
for the all-night vigil, which was scheduled to commence at 11pm. It
was held at the site where policemen’s “shots were heard
around the world.” Around 4am Sunday morning, 11/25/2006, “a
day that will live in infamy” Sean Bell was killed on the eve
of his wedding day. His two friends, Joe Guzman and Trent Benefield
were wounded as the vehicle in which they were riding was riddled with
During the night and in to the morning, the crowd continued to swell.
There were songs, prayers and speeches. Around 4am, Mr. Les Paultre
commenced striking a bell. 50 times, he struck the bell, symbolizing
the 50 shots fired into the vehicle.
Simultaneously, with the family, the crowd moved toward the death site.
There was a canvas with Sean’s picture hanging against the wall.
Flowers, cards, and notes of endearment placed beneath the canvas, could
be seen by the candles’ light on the ground and in the hands of
supporters. Stillness was broken by the sobbing of Nicole. I was asked
by Rev. Sharpton to conclude the ceremony with prayer. Nicole, with
her mother and sister on one side and leaning on the arms of Rev. Sharpton
on the other side, stumbled away from the death site. A few feet away
stood Joe Guzman, Sean’s best friend and best man. Nicole, still
sobbing, fell into his crest. He wrapped his big arms around her. Tears
were in his eyes as he kept shaking his head.
When she had gathered strength, Rev. Sharpton organized the people for
the march. It was near 5am when we started walking through the chilly
morning. We walked along Sutphin Blvd. to 109th Street, turned left,
for 1⁄2 block and went into the semi-circled shaped church, named
Tabernacle of Praise.
It was warm in the church’s crowded basement. It was decided to
start the service scheduled for 6am at 5:30am. By 6:30am, the sanctuary
upstairs was filed to capacity, 300 to 400 people. The 11⁄2-hour
ceremony began with everybody invited to sing, “Amen.” Followed
with a prayer by Pastor Ruel Williams. After a musical selection, family
members made remarks. First came Mr. Poultre, next Ms. Poultre and then
Attorney Michael Hardy introduced Rev. Al Sharpton.
Rev. Sharpton, after making remarks, presided over the rest of the program.
He extolled the courage and commitment of the family. He said, “We
never saw the family commitment waver.” He invited Nicole to make
remarks. Standing next to her sister, she thanked the family members
and friends for their support. She said, “When they killed Sean,
they killed two families. But Sean is still here. We cannot see him,
but he is still here. He will always be in my heart.”
Another music selection by Mark Reddick and Universal Praise. After
which, Rev. Sharpton called for remarks from the elected officials.
Congressman Greg Meeks, State Senator Malcolm Smith, Councilman James
Sanders, Councilman John Liu, all gave brief remarks. I was introduced
by Rev. Sharpton and invited to speak. I commended the family’s
determination and bravery. I recounted my fifty years of ministry, most
of which was devoted to doing what I have been doing with the Bell family
– supporting the families and calling for justice after police
killings. I named many of the people who had been killed by police.
I said, “The cruel, incredible, unbelievable irony is that the
people we pay to protect are the people who are killing us.”
There were closing remarks by Rev. Cecil Cabiness. On the steps of the
church, came the news people, some of whom had been with us from the
beginning. One final group picture was taken with Rev. Sharpton and
the family. Standing next to me, I put my arms around Nicole’s
shoulders. There was a faint smile on her face, but tears were in her
eyes. I whispered, “God bless you daughter, stay strong. We are
proud of you and we are always praying for you.” She nodded and
we moved away.
I arrived at my church at 8:05am, in time for our 8:00am worship service.
The 4th Sunday in the month, at our 8am worship there is a special anointing
service. I anoint the forehead of worshippers with oil, symbolizing
the presence of God. In my mind, I kept repeating, “Oh God if
we ever needed you, we need you now.” My subject for the morning
was, “I am Determined To Be Grateful.” The Scripture reference
was from Psalms 9th Chapter, 1-3 verses. My subject continued the theme
I had started last week. “Can We Be Grateful?” was my subject
then. My conclusion was, “All kinds of painful experiences shall
enter the life of the human family. Most of which we can do nothing
about. We can do something about the way we think about what is happening
to us. And the way we think about what is happening to us will determine
our physical and mental health, our worldview, our value system and
our actions, which in turn will influence our future. There is a Bible
verse that has become a part of my family’s history. My mother
used to quote it often. It is taken from Romans 8th Chapter and the
28th verse. ‘For we know that in all things God works for good
to them that love God and to them that are the called according to His
purpose.’ A belief in that promise will surely sustain us and
even empower us to face and overcome every situation.
Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday night forums
7pm to 9pm held at the House of the Lord Church.
We will be hosting a Tribute to Brother Elombe Brath, on Sunday, December
9, 5pm, at the House of the Lord Church.
Rev. Daughtry will be making a report to the community on his trip to
Sudan at the Timbuktu Learning Center on Thursday, December 13, 2007,
7pm at the House of the Lord Church.
Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday
from 2pm to 4pm.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House
of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @
For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord
Church @ (718) 596-1991.