LOS ANGELES (KCAL/KCBS) – It was a loud night on Skid Row.
Homeless advocates led a blockade that stretched for several blocks Wednesday, with cars and people in place to stop what was planned to be a large Christian worship service in protest of COVID-19 restrictions in Los Angeles County.
“We made it clear. If they want to come to this community with masks on, we’re OK,” said Pastor Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie.
Jn-Marie leads The Church Without Walls on Skid Row, and was one of the leaders of the blockade against the planned “Let Us Worship” event – one of a series of protest rallies that have been led by Christian singer and activist Sean Feucht.
Video from a recent “Let Us Worship” concert in New Orleans shows Feucht leading the event. Thousands of people are packed shoulder-to-shoulder. Very few in the crowd are wearing masks.
That was the fear for Skid Row. Local activists worried a maskless crowd could turn into a superspreader event and infect the vulnerable people living there.
The blockade was set up over an hour before the service was scheduled to begin.
“We’re just coming and just praising,” said Hina Sheik, a Let Us Worship supporter. “We’re not doing anything that’s illegal. We’re not doing anything that’s harming anyone.”
Sheik and a few dozen others showed up to support Let Us Worship. Some wore masks. Those who didn’t were confronted for not wearing one.
As soon as a band from Let Us Worship started performing, the Skid Row activists showed up to drown them out.
Those performing did have masks on, but the crowd still didn’t welcome them.
“You can’t come to our community with your colonizing religion, acting like you own the place and putting people in jeopardy,” Jn-Marie said.
Feucht never showed up, and the large crowds never materialized.
There are plans for Let Us Worship to hold events in Echo Park and Valencia on New Year’s Eve.