Tensions are rising outside of the United States, but the effects are still very much felt at home. Israel and Palestine are warring once more and people perishing during protests casts a certain gloom over our sunny fall weather. Yet, the horizon always glows with an ascension after the weight of darkness becomes too much to bear.
On Sunday, November 19, citizens gathered amiably (yet with purpose) at George Izay Park for a United In Peace community walk. Hosted by the Burbank Human Relations Council, the mission of this event was to walk in the spirit of solidarity and remembrance of innocent victims of adversity everywhere.
Marsha Ramos, Chair of Programs, reminded attendees about the importance of the walk beyond a simple stroll. “We gather today as part of a call for local civic action to help put a stop to the spread of hate and discrimination, which remains a threat to our neighborhoods, schools, and cities across the nation,” she stressed. “This gathering is especially meaningful because incidents of identity-based hatred, including racism, antisemitism and bigotry, have increased dramatically…we are a visible sign that makes it clear that identity-based hatred is never acceptable and that we support our LGBTQ, Indigenous, Asian-American, Arab-American, Latino, Black, Muslim, Jewish, and immigrant neighbors.”
Rabbi Sobel, one of two religious leaders present to commemorate and sanctify the event, prayed, “We are doing righteous today because the goal is to bring peace. Let it start here, as that old song says, ‘Let there be peace and let it start with me.’ Let us change a little bit. Let there be peace and let it start with us as we march.”
Reverend Brandon Johnson built on the foundations that Ramos and Sobel applied earlier. “The seeds for human dignity and peace are planted deep in that faith. Christianity, for centuries, has been a counter to human hate and violence in many forms. Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy all have grown trees of hospitality, branches of love and safety. That’s the tradition from which I am speaking,” Johnson reassured. “Children, beloved of the most divine. Today and always, you are the peacemakers. You are the envisioners of love. You are the merciful.”