With Mayor Mike Purzycki and former First Lady Carla Markell leading the way, a hearty group of 200 children and adults stepped into the Color of Unity peace march today, calling for an end to violence and greater community harmony.
While the event honored the international legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the hike up Wilmington’s 4th Street was very local in its message. “This city needs healing,” remarked a member of the Wilmington Peacekeepers, who accompanied walkers and helped monitor traffic and safety.
Patty Dowling, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, addressed the diverse group embarking from the William Hicks Anderson Community Center. “We came here today to march for peace, to march for unity and to march for change.” Displaying a hand-written sign saying “All are welcomed,” Sarah Nightingale walked with a friend in the march and said, “I believe in peace and unity and Martin Luther King. Today is his day, and I want to celebrate it with as many peace-loving people as possible.”
A small group from “Food Not Bombs” walked the march route handing out homemade muffins to some residents. Their goal is to address hunger, and they stress that food is a right, not a privilege.
Tierra Spencer, a West Side Community Grows employee who helped organize the walk, said this year’s theme seems to have taken on a greater importance. “When we look at our differences as our strengths, we become one color — the color of unity.” Spencer added, “Instead of looking at color as a potentially negative thing, we are looking at all of these as our strengths. We are all unified in our goal to bring peace to our community.” Spencer arranged to have children at several community centers in Wilmington create some of the colorful posters, which she says encouraged them to participate in the march.