Powerful photos of a group of people, including police officers, kneeling and washing the feet of black community leaders in North Carolina have divided people online.
Lori Bush, from Cary, posted the striking images to Twitter on Sunday (local time) after attending a Unity Prayer Walk held as protests continue to rage across the US in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“Honoured to join the many at the Unity Prayer Walk in #CaryNC,” Ms Bush, who serves as the Cary Town Council Mayor, tweeted.
At some point during the walk, Faith and Soboma Wokoma, who helped host the event, sat down on a park bench and members of the community surrounded them, washing their feet while asking for forgiveness.
While it’s not clear how the couple, founders of the Legacy Center Church, felt about the gesture, however, pictures of the moment were praised and heavily criticised on Twitter.
“This foot washing is a national disgrace. This is not about unity or racism. These ‘struggle sessions’ are Maoist tactics designed to publicly humiliate their targets by social pressure and intimidation to ensure obedience. Embarrassed to live in Cary,” one man wrote.
“We miss my son’s hometown, the progressive, safe, and beautiful Cary,” a woman said.
“From what I understand, that act of feet washing is from Christian roots, to renew the cleansing that comes from Christ, and to seek and celebrate reconciliation with another. I don’t see anything in that activity that is humiliating. Just love,” Ms Bush replied to commenters.
Honored to join the many at the Unity Prayer Walk in #CaryNC. Several stops to pray. Poignant moment when @Morrisville_NC Chief Andrews shares her family story & pastors and police stop to wash the feet of black community leaders. #BlackLivesMattter pic.twitter.com/oHt6fWJPuh
— Lori Bush (@loribush) June 6, 2020
White protesters wash the feet of black protest organizers and beg for forgiveness in Cary, North Carolina. pic.twitter.com/SbZFZjbOLq
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 7, 2020
Mr and Ms Wokoma said they were happy to see so many churches from different religions come together for the walk.
“As we look through civil rights history, the church was always such a big part of change. And we don't want it to just be the black church or white church, or Asian church,” Ms Wokoma told ABC 11.
“We want the body of Christ to come together, collectively.”
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