NAACP holds prayer rally, discusses race issues

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COLUMBIA - The local NAACP chapter held a prayer rally at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church Saturday morning.

The local group came together to show support for a nationally organized march from Selma, Alabama to Washington, D.C. Marchers left Aug. 1 and are expected to arrive in Washington Sept. 16.

Organizers said the group plans to go to a designated church every Saturday from the time the march started to the time they reach the capitol. 

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown. The group discussed events in Ferguson that unfolded following his death, as well as local race issues in Columbia.

President of the Missouri NAACP Mary Ratliff said the community has a lot to work on.

"The problems in Columbia are problems with job disparity, educational disparity and there's still some police issues," Ratliff said. " I have a complaint right now that I've got to deal with that came to me just yesterday."

People held signs that read "black lives matter." Rally participant Pat Holt said it surprises her more progress hasn't been made.

"I want to support this movement that black lives matter," Holt said. "I find it just awful, atrocious that still today in 2015 the prejudice and the small mindedness."

Saturday's prayer rally was the second one to take place of five planned.

The next one will be held next Saturday at St. Paul A.M.E Methodist Church.