Peace march draws up to 1,000 to church, civic center
on March 6, 2010
Police estimated that 700 to 1,000 people took the streets today in peaceful activism.
The target: local violence that has claimed at least 54 lives since Jan. 1, 2009, and jolted the city Feb. 14 when three youths opened fire in a local church.
Today’s demonstrations began at 11 a.m., with seven minutes of simultaneous prayer at 210 street corners throughout the city.
Later, residents and local church and civic leaders converged on the Civic Center, where speakers, music and social service vendors were on hand.
From there, police cordoned off roadways for the marchers, as up to 1,000 walked from the Civic Center, across 23rd Street, and to New Gethsemane church at the corner of 21st Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
“It was a rainbow out there today,” said Rev. Andre Shumake, one of the organizers. “It was reflective of what Richmond is, and it planted a seed that we will continue to nurture.”
In a gesture to symbolize solidarity against violence and nonviolent protection of a house of worship, the demonstrators then linked hands, creating a human circle around one square block surrounding the church.
Civic leaders including Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Council members Maria Viramontes, Nat Bates and Jeff Ritterman participated.
“I think people from all over the Bay Area came to make a statement and to say no we won’t be silent, we are going to stand up, we are going to make this known,” said Bishop J.W. Macklin, one of the leaders of the two-week schedule of peace events that has drawn support from more than 80 area churches. “That there is one voice, one hope, one city and we are going to make this work.”
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