What would have been Rev. Walter Hoye's 10th annual Issues4Life rally and walk in downtown Oakland on Jan. 20 was cut short when Oakland police, after reports of a citywide demonstration against the inauguration of President Donald Trump, said they could not guarantee safety.
Undaunted, Rev. Hoye did gather with more than 150 supporters at his annual fundraising dinner later that evening.
"This afternoon would have been our 10th anniversary Issues4Life event in Oakland," he told the dinner gathering in the parish hall of St. Stephen Parish in Walnut Creek. "The Oakland Police Department could not guarantee the safety of the women and children who attend our rally in front of Oakland City Hall," he said.
He invited attendees to contribute toward the $15,000 Issues4Life needs to create a pro-life conference for black pastors.
"They want to join hand in hand with the pro-life movement but don't know how," Rev. Hoye said.
Pastors of many Christian churches serve at the pleasure of the congregation, and need the tools to bring the pro-life message to those congregations, which might not be receptive.
Face-to-face gatherings, Rev. Hoye said, would also allow them the opportunity for healing.
"We can start healing the hearts and minds, and prepare them to go into the prolife movement," he said. "Granted we have civil rights advances, but if we don't have life, it doesn't matter.
"None of that matters if I can't get out of the womb."
After the dinner, supporters heard from Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, and Jeff White of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.
Rev. Hoye said he would be consulting with the Life Legal Defense Fund after the afternoon walk was canceled.
"While I am passionate to the commitment to life, two years ago protesters were allowed to come while Rev. Clenard Childress was speaking," he said. Rev. Childress is the founder of www.blackgenocide.org.
"We weren't free to finish our walk," he said. "Because of the inaugural protest in Oakland, we weren't going to get involved. If they did what they did two years ago, I didn't feel I could put everyone at risk," he said.
"I am CANCELING our '10th Annual Rally/Walk In Oakland' because I cannot guarantee the safety of the women and children attending our event," Rev. Hoye told supporters through social media messages.
In 2015, the rally was interrupted by a noisy group of abortion-rights activists, who walked through the police lines.
"We noticed protesters on a corner were using amplified sound, for which a permit is required," said Rev. Hoye, who had obtained a permit to use amplified sound for his noon to 1 p.m. rally. "I filed a complaint with police officers."
Hoye canceled the long-planned event, for which he had obtained permits, after consultation with the Oakland Police Department.
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