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Peace Marchers 'still dreaming' in Wilmington on MLK day

The 7th annual Peace March on the West Side of Wilmington honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday.

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A YMCA drill team lead the march with music and dancing. Several community organizations— including West Side Grows Together, 302GunsDown, #It’sNotOK and Wilmington Peacekeepers—came together to put on the event.

“The theme this year is ‘still dreaming,’” said  march organizer Tierra Spencer of West Side Grows Together. “And we basically wanted to shine a light on all the work that has been done to fight social injustice and gun violence. But to also really, really be intentional about the work that still needs to be done,” she said.

The City’s police department reported a significant drop in shootings last year compared to 2017. Spencer says the city is feeling that change.

“The city is coming alive as far as the social life. I think people are feeling comfortable coming out. And just people coming out today shows. It’s really cold—but I think people believe in the progress we’re making,” said Spencer.

Rev. Tom Davis, a retired pastor with Wilmington Peacekeepers, said a prayer at the post-march celebration. “We ask for unity in our city. We thank you for the police men and women who are doing their best. And we ask for citizens to work with them that the progress we have made in the reduction of gun violence may continue,” he said.

“Today is just one of the days that we can stand out and spread the message of Dr. Martin Luther King. And we have to do it more than one day,” said Bro. Terry Walls of Wilmington Peacekeepers. “We need to take this into consideration and do it every day of our lives.” Walls says he hopes the march promoted Dr. King’s message of nonviolence.

Newly elected State Senator and West Side resident Tizzy Lockman was among the elected officials marching. She held a sign bearing a Martin Luther King quote:“Intelligence and character, that is the goal true education.”

Lockman says she has participated in the Peace March for the last seven years. “It’s just a wonderful way for our community and organizations to come together and show our solidarity and our support for the work of making our society a more just one. It’s always a fantastic experience. I think this year in the freezing cold, almost makes it more meaningful,” she said.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki says he marched “in honor of a great man and great aspirations that we can all profit by.”

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer participated“to celebrate Mr. King’s legacy, to check in to make sure everything we do every day honors him and his legacy.”

The march ended with a celebration catered by local restaurants at the Be Ready Jesus Is Coming Church on 4th Street. Several organizations hosted resource tables. Jea Street Jr. of 302GunsDown led the crowd in singing Lift Every Voice and Sing— the Black National Anthem.

 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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