MLK Peace & Freedom Walk Draws Crowds
James Wright | 1/23/2013, 9:55 a.m.
"I want to help build bridges across the city," he said, while holding a red and white Ward 3 Democratic Committee sign.
Two hundred marchers from various educational, cultural and political organizations marched 1.2 miles southeast on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue to Shepherd Park in the Peace Walk. Neighbors watched through their windows, on their front porches and on sidewalks as the group marched by.
Charles Pyatt, of Southeast, liked what he saw.
"This is good," said Pyatt, 59. "This is good for the community."
D.C. Council at-large candidates Elissa Silverman, Patrick Mara and Perry Redd also joined in the Peace Walk.
There were chants from various organizations, such as one urging D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to resign from Empower D.C. in Northwest to "Free D.C." from the Stand Up for Democracy organization that's also based in Northwest. Members of the Anacostia High School football team, led by coach and former NFL star and alumnus Cato June, picked up trash along the corridor to fulfill community credit hours.
At Shepherd Park, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) talked about King's legacy and how he might feel about today's societal ills.
"Dr. King would have been 84 this year," said Gray, 70. "He would be deeply disappointed and depressed about the gun violence in our society. It is a travesty what is going on in our country but the question is what are we going to do about it?"
Gray also said that King would be in the forefront of the struggle for D.C. self-determination.
Lisa Shaw, an organizer of the event, said the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace & Freedom Walk turned out well.
"It was tremendous," Shaw said. "We had great success. People should stay tuned for the 36th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, which will take place in January 2014," she said with a smile.