Fayette County

Plaza the scene of vigil,rally at same time

Two groups trying to raise awareness for different issues gathered almost simultaneously at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza downtown on Sunday.

At 2 p.m., in 30-degree weather and light snow, the third annual Vigil for Life brought out about 100 people to show their opposition to abortion.

Among the speakers was the Rev. Phil Roberts of the Hill 'n' Dale Christian Church, who read a letter he plans to send to President-elect Barack Obama. He praised Obama as a leader who is also a family man and expressed hope that the president-elect might reconsider his position on abortion rights.

The Rev. Jon Weece of Southland Christian Church and Mike Allen, director of family life ministries for the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, also spoke at the vigil, which was organized by Right to Life of Central Kentucky.

About 45 minutes later, some 150 people rallied against violence in the Middle East.

Speakers included former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac and Kerby Neill of the Central Kentucky Council on Peace and Justice.

Event organizer Fatima Shalash told attendees that she wants to cut the chain of hate and that she hopes that events such as the rally will help accomplish that goal. She acknowledged that it will be hard, though.

"I know it's easier to blame and point fingers," she said.