Photo Essay: Adventist Congregations Participate in 'Millions March' Los Angeles

On Satruday, December 27, demonstrators took to the streets in Downtown Los Angeles, California, as part of the "Millions March for First Amendment Rights" event. Members of several Southern California Adventist congregations joined the marchers. Courtney Ray, a pastor at the Breath of Life Adventist Church in Los Angeles, shared the following photo essay.

Thousands of protesters at the Millions March LA protesting police brutality. Pastors and congregants from several Southern California Adventist churches such as Breath of Life (Inglewood), Kansas Avenue (Riverside), and Mount Rubidoux (Riverside) joined.

Anthony Paschal, Jr. a teacher at Glendale Adventist Academy, at the march.

The LA Millions March was orgainized by several college students, graduate students, and community leaders in solidarity with other Million March protests around the country and to demonstrate peacefully against injustice. Once Adventist leaders heard about the march, they were anxious to participate and encouraged their members to do the same. Isaiah 58 admonishes God's people to be at the forefront of social justice and condemns standing in silence, witnessing the oppression of others.

The march followed a four-mile route through Downtown Los Angeles starting at the Pan Pacific Park to South Fairfax Avenue at Beverly Boulevard.

Pastor Michael Jenkins, Jr. from the Breath of Life Church, wearing a "please don't shoot" t-shirt at the march.

One protestor created a plaster mannequin with its hands up. It's decorated with the words "don't shoot," and with pictures of hundreds of unarmed victims, murdered by police.

People from various cultural backgrounds came together in solidarity to march.

The ultimate message of many people at the march.

The pause at this billboard was a poignant moment for many people at the march. Just how far has our nation come since marching at Selma?

The march paused for 4.5 seconds in commemoration of the 4.5 hours Mike Brown laid on the cement after being killed in Ferguson Missouri.

Members from the Breath of Life Church at the march.

Courtney Ray is a pastor in the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, currently serving at the Breath of Life Church in Los Angeles.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

It is obvious how people can be like sheep led astray by the media and mob mentality when viewing these pictures.

The Michael Brown case is not a racism or police brutality case. A criminal, Michael Brown, resisted the law officer to the point of altercation, attempting to steal the officers weapon, but later found himself on the wrong end of the weapon. The officer was in self defense mode to a very large and out of control human being. The riotous behavior verifies the need for heavy law enforcement in that community. That same disrespectful behavior was displayed by the criminal who wound up dead.

The case in New York included an individual resisting arrest. Police brutality resulted and the criminal died as a result. Another case that is not race related. Just because the criminal is a certain color or ethnicity does not constitute any truth to calling this racism.

Racism is being fueled in this fire by Al Sharpton (who is not very sharp), President Obama, and much of the democrat minded media. They are showing themselves to be very racist provocative, which may very well be considered a political propaganda effort.

Why would Truth Seekers such as Adventists fall for such obvious misleading? Lack of thinking may very well be the answer.


Where was Ryan Bell? Did I miss him?

Whether Michael Brown was guilty of a small theft or whether he pushed on the car door of a police officer is irrelevant. What matters is what he represents. Like Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks he dared to directly challenge the powerful police department and he paid the price with his life. We cannot let his indiscretions cloud the fact that he is a hero. We would be better off with no police at all than the kinds of racist cops who will take such drastic action against innocent members of the community.

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I find your argument about the officer to be factually and actually irrelevant. Michael Brown is a symbol of the wodespread oppression that we face as African Americans. Yes he is not an ideal reference point for the character of our children but we are often caught in the choice of having to align ourselves with the downtrodden or with the unrealistically successful African Americans like Ben Carson who like most in our community who gain what they think is financial or notorietical success tend to become conservatives. We have to align ourselves with those in the stuggle who have reached a status that we know our children can achieve in a White dominated society.

A hero?? For breaking the law?? When one chooses to defy law enforcement, police that is not being unreasonable, and gets into an altercation with the officer for no just reason; that makes one a hero??? Good grief, where is your logic? It had nothing to do with race, unless you are saying the criminal is racist against law enforcement or the color of the enforcer.
Rosa Parks was right in what she chose to do. The law was discriminatory against races. Michael Brown stole and was confronted about it, then he turned it into a major issue. Get your facts straight sir!


there is a constitutional right to peaceable assembly. there is no right to riot or to revenge., furthermore, the right to assemble is limited to public space, not Private, The fabric of our society Is getting very thin. Private acts of civility are the only way to restore it. The use of media is total erosion. As a handicapped old man, I receive many acts of kindness daily, thank you all. Tom Z


I hear your frustration - but the cause would have been better served with a symbol that was not using violence to resist a police officer doing his job.

Did you read the testimony of the witnesses to this shooting?

I do not perceive him as a hero. I perceive him as someone who thought that violence aimed at a police officer was a good idea. I value the role police play in my society too highly to allow people - even innocent people - to direct violence at them.

I do perceive the issue as a rallying point - and a valuable one, given how important it is to have a police force that the community being policed respects - but I distinguish between being a rallying point and being a hero.

If you don’t like the job the police are doing, get involved by becoming a police officer, by organizing a neighborhood watch, by electing a different police chief, by … Violence directed against police officers on patrol is not the right answer.

Get involved in getting the kind of policing you want - including marches like this. Just don’t attack police officers doing their job - instead get the evidence you need and work through the political and legal systems to get the results you want.

  1. Brown assaulted a clerk to steal his booty. Would you favor such behvior against blacks?
  2. Your comments are appropo re racial police tactics, but this was not such a tactic.
  3. You show a certain lack of logic in your conclusions. If you are loooking to win others to your thinking, logic is requried. If you cannot mount such a response, silence would be the better course. Your comments do nothing to further your cause.

I might add:

Recently, and I cannot remember where I read it, a piece noted that there were something like 6000 plus black homocides in the US last year. About 200 were white on black, mostly police confrontations. The rest black on black.

Now if you really, REALLY believe that black lives matter, then you should address the issue of black on black homocide. Now THAT would make a difference. Until you make such a move, you are actually the one, along with the marchers here that are irrelevant. Even if you effect a change, it will do nothing compared to doing something about that issue. Do you love your black brothers, or are you only interested in stirring up the racisim you abhor?


or the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. (Isaiah 6:16)

What a shame what our leaders and people are doing. Jesus never rallied and protested against the government. Why should we? We actually should be intercessors for the oppressed and downtrodden.

"The Pharisees sought distinction by their scrupulous ceremonialism, and the ostentation of their worship and charities. They proved their zeal for religion by making it the theme of discussion. “Disputes between opposing sects were loud and long, and it was not unusual to hear on the streets the voice of angry controversy from learned doctors of the law.{DA 261.1}
In marked contrast to all this was the life of Jesus. In that life no noisy disputation, no ostentatious worship, no act to gain applause, was ever witnessed.” {DA 261.2}

"The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses,—extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.{DA 509.3}
"Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12, 13. Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the word of God. {DA 509.4}

Satan will most assuredly take over these demonstrations (he has already). Demons in the form of humans can stir up the crowds even more.

We are told that the same things that happened during the French Revolution will infect the world also:
“At the same time anarchy is seeking to sweep away all law, not only divine, but human. The centralizing of wealth and power; the vast combinations for the enriching of the few at the expense of the many; the combinations of the poorer classes for the defense of their interests and claims; the spirit of unrest, of riot and bloodshed; the world-wide dissemination of the same teachings that led to the French Revolution–all are tending to involve the whole world in a struggle similar to that which convulsed France.” {Ed 228.2}

Read the parable of the unjust judge.

“The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ’s second coming…James 5:1-6. This is a picture of what exists today. By every species of oppression and extortion, men are piling up colossal fortunes, while the cries of starving humanity are coming up before God…’Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter…’ Isaiah 59:14, 15…In the parable of the unjust judge, Christ has shown what we should do. ‘Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him?’ Christ, our example, did nothing to vindicate or deliver Himself. He committed His case to God. So His followers are not to accuse or condemn, or to resort to force in order to deliver themselves. When trials arise that seem unexplainable, we should not allow our peace to be spoiled. However unjustly we may be treated, let not passion arise.By indulging a spirit of retaliation we injure ourselves. We destroy our own confidence in God, and grieve the Holy Spirit. There is by our side a witness, a heavenly messenger, who will lift up for us a standard against the enemy.” {COL 171.3}

Satan is ripening his harvest even from our ranks in getting our own members to filled with rage.

David R.

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I am confused . . . and that status would be the status that Michael Brown achieved?

You can’t be serious. You would prefer anarchy to the present situation? And you have no proof that these constables are racist. This is just what the sound-bite media want you to think.

If a Black cop shoots a white person, is it racist? What’s good for the goose . . . .

What about when Black cops shoot Black people? Are they Uncle Toms?

Michael Brown was certainly no hero. He was a thug who made some poor choices. Whether or not the cop overreacted is a matter for the courts and the grand jury didn’t find enough evidence. So the solution to that is anarchy, in your way of thinking?

These mobs are descending into lunacy. You may get your wish. One of my friends, who is a cop, says it’s getting harder and harder to find good people to join the force. Idiots like the ones who trashed Ferguson are partly responsible for the problem.

Somehow I can’t see how marching in a protest fits into keeping the Sabbath holy.

Amazing isn’t it. Our leaders encourage and join in - on the Sabbath no less - to protest this so-called “hero”. I wonder how many times they went out on foot to pass out The Great Controversy?

Have you seen this?

They are sure selling us out. Pure traitors to the faith and God. (Inappropriate & excessive. - website editor)

David R.

i’m not so sure the so-called black view of things is always objective or accurate…after-all, the o.j. jury acquitted him despite overwhelming evidence…but i don’t think racism has anything to do with objective evidence…when hatred exists between groups of people, it just feeds itself, in good times and in bad…how long have the jews and the palestinians been going at it…

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Michael Brown is no hero. He was a thug who had just robbed a convenience store, accosted an officer in his car when told to get off the street, flaunted lawlessness and resisted arrest. Sad to say we are probably going to see more of this because the thugs have been emboldened by the racist rhetoric of the rank reverend Al Sharpton. Those riots in Ferguson. Mo. resulted in 27 businesses being burned down, most of them were owned by black people. Ask them how they feel about Michael Brown and Al Sharpton.

Just look what happened in NYC when two police officers were killed in cold blooded murder by just such a thug. So you think it would be better to have no police. I personally know a black cop who takes a much different view than you do. I think the police should walk out on strike and give NYC a good taste of what life would be like without them trying to keep the peace in such an atmosphere of no police protection. Demogogs like Al Sharpton should be the first to take a stroll on the streets of NYC with no cops. Twenty years ago there was 2,500 homocides annually in NYC, before Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor and beefed up the police force and cracked down on criminals. At the end of his second term in 2002 NYC was much safer and homocides were down over 75%. I would hate to be a police officer of any color in NYC right now. The current white mayor is worse than David Dinkens, who ran NYC into the ground before Giulinani pulled it back from the brink. People seem to have such short memories. The days of the jungle anarchy are returning.


Well Birder, this is interesting that on this one we can find some agreement, although I don’t see what Sabbath has to do with it. I waved a flag on Sabbath once in a support the troops rally back in 1991 when Desert Storm drove Hussein out of Kuwait. Several church members showed up to show support. but others criticized us for doing it on Sabbath. I suppose it’s all in what you are impassioned about, huh. Say when are you going to answer those questions I asked you?

That’s the problem with emotionalism. No evidence will ever be enough.

Feelings trump facts in the 21st century.

Oh! And allow me to edit this and wish everyone here and at Spectrum a safe and happy new year.

God bless.

Hello David,

Just to make myself clear, I am not for, under any way shape of form for these, misguided, Adventist protesters. But I believe it is our duty to stand up to oppressive governments/systems/people.

However, your comment on the the world getting worse, wearing out like an old glove, is, sadly, not understood by some. The only reason it is not so obvious, is because we are becoming numb to it. I remember reading, I believe in PP, Enoch would be grieved, deeply, every time he had to go to the cities to preach, seeing the ever increasing violence and immorality. He would frequently escape to the wilderness, spend time with God, recuperate, be cleansed, before going back to the cities to do the work entrusted to him.

Sounds like another one of those “feel good” activities which accomplish nothing and send the wrong message to our church members.