We March for Peace
“Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you're doin’ me wrong, so wrong”*
The words resounded across Emerald City Bible Fellowship’s parking lot as elementary-aged children led a crowd of over 200 in songs and chants beneath rainy Seattle skies. The children had learned the chants the previous summer when they participated in Urban Impact’s CDF Freedom School®. Now on this weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, they came out with their parents to pray for their neighborhood. It was clear that this prayer march was a manifestation of Dr. King’s vision for peaceful yet pointed responses to injustice.
What inspired this intergenerational, multi-ethnic prayer march representing members from over a dozen Seattle churches? The robbing and physical beating of well-loved owners of local business, King Donuts, along with other acts of violence that have broken the community in South Seattle in January. This drove a group of millennial leaders from Urban Impact’s staff and community to respond creatively by organizing a prayer march.
As Pastor Peter of Rainier Avenue Church expressed to the congregation the Sunday before the march, “We want to communicate to this community that as Christians we are peacemakers. Not just with signs but with prayer.”
Rain continued to fall as strollers and wheelchairs proceeded down Rainier Avenue. Young and old carried signs calling for peace, proclaimed prayers of lament and sang songs of hope with a vision that “each child of the Rainier Valley can walk down the street with confidence in their value, their safety and their full potential.”
When the group arrived at King Donuts they bought donuts… and joyfully left a $1,200 tip in the tip jar. The owner’s family was touched.
“We’ve been in the neighborhood for almost 30 years and have never seen support of this type, ever,” said the owner’s daughter Davie Hay. “It brought joy to see everyone show up at our shop in the pouring rain. Definitely something that I will never forget and be forever grateful for the generosity of the community.”
“My light will shine so brightly, it will blind you ‘cause there’s
Something inside so strong”
* Words by Labi Siffre from “Something Inside So Strong”