It was cold and wet today in Newark. Yet the Solidarity Sunday March for Hope and Peace went on as scheduled as people gathered under umbrellas at City Hall and walked in groups to Lincoln Park for the rally. Ministers, Street Warriors, representatives of community-based organizations and associations, and local political leaders had their turn to speak out about how best to end the violence in the city; and soloists and choirs sang in the rain. Before the event concluded, at least 500 people showed up from the city and the suburbs as an act of solidarity and the spirit of Hope and Peace.

What follows is Dave Kerr’s report on the event:

One way to look at Solidarity is simple: what can do in love for others. There are problems but let’s not spend a lot of time finding out who is at fault. First, let’s help the one who is hurt and work together in solidarity to prevent the problem from happening again and hurting others. Let’s work to heal rather than hurt. Let’s start with the child who is hungry and feed him. Let’s start with the family who’s homeless and find them shelter. Let’s start with the stranger and take her in. Let’s come to those in prison and show them the way out.

In spite of constant rain, wind and cold weather, marchers walked down Broad St. from City Hall, led by the responsive chanting of Pastor Bernard Wilks. Pastors Darlene Reynolds, Reggie Osborne, Pam Jones, David Jefferson, Bill Howard and Jethro James showed their passion and leadership to the crowd about the need to come together as a people and bring hope and real help to the many in need in our City. Community advocates Donna Jackson, Earl Best (Street Doctor) and El-Amin delivered fiery talks about the need for all of us to get out of our comfort zones and work directly with people in ‘the streets’ who need our help.

Faith-based activists and community leaders joined Solidarity Sunday participants, some 500 in number, in singing ‘Let There Be Peace On Earth and Let it Begin With Me.’ World Famous Opera Singer Kevin Maynor led the singing with ‘There is a Balm in Gilead.’ Souls of Integrity Choir sang Sam Cook’s ‘A Change is Going to Come.’

Many of our political and government leaders were there, including Council President Mildred Crump, Deputy Mayor Deen Shareef, Senator Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Grace Spencer and Assemblyman Al Coutinho. Many other faith-based leaders were there also including Robert Morris, Mark Beckwith, Deirdre Malloy, Tanya Bennett, and Michael Christensen–all from the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Hope. Mayor Cory Booker sent a note wishing us well and pledging his full support for Solidarity Sunday even though he could not attend.

Solidarity Sunday was just the beginning. There will be a follow up discussion of Solidarity at our next Bridge Breakfast on December 18th at the Robert Treat Center at 8am.

David H. Kerr
Founder and President
Integrity House
103 Lincoln Park
PO Box 510
Newark, NJ 07102