Hundreds of Palisadians from all walks of life, of all different faiths and cultures filled the pews of Pacific Palisades Lutheran Church last Sunday, May 5 in support of Pastor Kenneth Davis and his daughter, Cassadi.
The two were accosted in the local Ralph’s parking lot the evening of April 18 by a woman who hurled racial epithets and threats of gun violence against the Pastor and his daughter.
Pastor Davis filed a police report on April 22 and a detective with the West LA Bureau was assigned to the case, but local law enforcement did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ralph’s has yet to release or confirm the existence of any footage of the incident.
On Sunday, the pastor started his service with a word to his congregation, which had swelled the building to max capacity and included Co-Honorary Mayors Janice and Billy Crystal.
“My daughters and I are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support that this incident has brought about,” Davis said at the service. “You are here because you represent the 90 percent of people who do not view others differently. I would be just as appalled if this happened to someone in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I would be just as appalled if this happened to my sisters and brothers of the Jewish faith…The hate has to stop and that’s what we’re here for today.”
Pastor Davis thanked the law enforcement officers in attendance, including local figures Capt. Vic Davalos and Officer Rusty Redican.
“It’s a shame that you have to bring law enforcement to places of faith but there are no sacred spaces anymore,” said Davis.
After members of the Star Preschool Children’s Choir sang several popular songs of faith and after opening remarks from Pastor Davis, Cassadi Davis took the pulpit to address those in attendance and issue a thanks to the community.
“I wish this experience had never happened to me or anyone because of their race, gender, religion, or orientation,” Davis said. “I have learned a lot and am still learning a lot from this. It will take a long time for me to heal and find a way to use this in a positive way in the future. Thank you for your help in my healing process.”
Rabbi Steven Reuben spoke on behalf of the Jewish and interfaith communities of the Palisades, offering support and a blessing in Hebrew to Pastor Davis and his family.
“Jewish tradition teaches us that a community is too heavy for anyone to carry it alone,” Rabbi Reuben told the congregation. “And that’s why we’re all here today, to carry the community together.”
After the service, Pastor Davis and his family were thronged by well-wishers.
“It was a great turnout from the community,” Pastor Davis told the Palisadian-Post. “I think some people showed up today to say that if they’d experienced something like that they would have helped.
“I grew up in Los Angeles and have experienced racism on a regular basis. I did not expect my daughters to inherit an America like that. That’s what’s disheartening. But it was a great response from the community affirming 99 percent of us don’t want to live in a world filled with hate.”