Memorial March For Peace: Seven-Mile Walk Commemorates Martin Luther King Jr.

Attendees walked from Boston to Newton on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.

Photo via Steve Annear

Photo via Steve Annear

As the nation paused Wednesday at 3 p.m. to remember the famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to commemorate the civil rights March on Washington, 50 years ago to the day, residents from Boston began a march against violence of their own.

“King sort of represented the entire package of how we need to [move forward] and think of humanity as one. This march is so critical because it represents the spectrum of our Boston community,” said Reverend June Cooper, one of the organizers of the first-ever “Memorial March for Peace,” to honor those who have lost their lives to violence.

Cooper said the march, which began at the Peace Garden, where hundreds of stones engraved with the names of individuals who have been killed in Boston are arranged, had a dual purpose—fighting back against hate and violence, and striving for equality. “It really is about the issues that King stood for around equality and dignity, and the possibility that we can live in a country that’s free of violence,” she said.

Boston Marathon bombing hero Carlos Arrenondo was at the march, donning his now-iconic cowboy hat, holding a large mutli-colored flag that read “Peace.”

“Being a person who has worked hard to bring peace to our community, it is important for me and my wife to participate in these events,” he said.

Marchers planned to walk seven miles to Newton to attend a vigil and interfaith gathering at the First Baptist Church with elected officials and special guest speakers.

The walk commemorated the 50th anniversary of the speech delivered by King half a century ago in Washington, D.C., where he called for peace, equality, and envisioned a future that was void of hatred. King’s speech was followed by the March on Washington, something Cooper said she remembers watching on television as a child. “[King] represented hope. But one issue that still plagues our world today is that we don’t have peace,” she said. “We need to have peace. I want our children to be looked at not in a judging way, but in a loving way.”

Earlier this week, some 250 residents from Boston, Worcester, and Providence descended on Washington, D.C., to join tens of thousands of others nationwide for the second March on Washington.

Just moments after Wednesday’s march, members of the Memorial March for Peace strolled slowly toward Beacon Hill, waving signs and chanting. Governor Deval Patrick stood outside of the Old South Meeting House on Washington Street to take part in a bell ringing in honor of King’s speech and the march’s anniversary.

Earlier in the day, The “No More Names” tour, an effort to reduce gun violence that has been traveling state to state, hit Faneuil Hall. Mayor Thomas Menino, a founding member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, spoke at the rally, which also highlighted a need to end violence. “Too many innocent people have lost their lives to gun violence—not only on our streets and in our neighborhoods, but throughout our country,” Menino said. “Mayors are on the front lines in this fight to crack down on gun crime and keep our communities safe.”

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and Congressmen Michael Capuano, John Tierney and Stephen Lynch were also at the anti-gun rally at Faneuil Hall, as well as Attorney General Martha Coakley and members of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence group.

photo (1)