Third Annual March Most Diverse Ever
About 300 people marched yesterday in Wilmington’s West Side to promote the possibility of peace in our neighborhoods, nation, and world.
The Movement for a Culture of Peace took a giant step toward diversity and inclusivity today with its third annual march. A new partnership with the grassroots community group 302 Guns Down brought scores of new people of peace into the movement that began in 2014.
The march today was followed by A Day Of Peace in Wilmington’s Judy Johnson Park, a purposeful and joyous festival focused on building individual capacity and stronger community in the West Side neighborhood.
The March and the Day of Peace were highlights of Peace Week Delaware—an entire week of events focused on transforming Delaware from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.
As the marchers gathered, a peace poem by Diamond McFarland, a member of the Wilmington Peacekeepers, dug deep into peoples’ hearts. Bishop Aretha Morton of Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist Church blessed the marchers and the movement for peace as they assembled in the park. Bishop Morton has been a pastor in Wilmington for more than 50 years.
Marchers then walked about 0.8 miles on Fourth Street, Franklin, and Second Street. Residents waved from porches and windows in support and some joined the march back to Judy Johnson Park, where they heard the Movement for a Culture of Peace’s calls to action for 2016: renovate and revitalize the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center; make a lasting commitment to community policing, and bring education in conflict resolution and trauma reduction into our schools.
Movement for a Culture of peace will offer a workshop in restorative justice and trauma-informed education on Nov. 5 at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andres and Matthew. Subscribe to this blog to receive updates on this and other future programs.
Minister Rachel B. Livingston of Mother African Union Church delivered closing remarks to the marchers. Her topic was “Transforming to a Cultural Norm of Peace.” She called for a “new reality” that rejects the cultural norm of violence—our reality today. Peace, she said, is no longer “normal” in our society. This defies the conventional definition of peace as the absence of war and violence.
To transform from our culture of violence to a culture of peace, Livingston said, requires a new reality, a “new norm” that defines peace differently. A culture of peace, she said, includes education, economic opportunity, anti-racism, equal justice for all, human rights, gender and sexual equality, democracy, and disarmament of nations and communities.
The march ended with a large circle of commitment, in which people prayed and connected for peace, holding hands and pledging to keep working for the transformation of our community.