Celebrating King’s legacy by marching for peace

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Celebrating King’s legacy by marching for peace

On Jan. 15, 2018, parishioners from St Sabina Church in Chicago held a silent march in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and his commitment to non-violence. They prayed for those who have lost their lives to the epidemic of violence plaguing Chicago. Participants carried blue lights to represent the fight for peace.
A boy holds a "peace" sign during the service prior to the march.
Father Michael Pfleger said prior to a march: "Dr. King was a prophetic voice for peace, equality; and non-violence during the Civil Rights era. It is important for us to remember and honor that. But it is equally important that we continue to fight for peace, bring an end to the violence and level the playing field."
Participants pray during a short service prior to the march.
A young boy holds a blue candle.
Pam Bosley, co-founder of Purpose Over Pain, leads participants in song prior to the march.
Participants sing prior to the march during a short prayer service.
Participants brave the cold carrying blue lights to march around the neighborhood.

With temperatures at 13 degrees and dropping on the evening Jan. 15 -- the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., -- more than 50 people gathered at St. Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Place, to honor his legacy and march and pray for peace.

Carrying battery powered candles with blue lights – blue symbolizing a color of peace -- they processed in silence around the neighborhood.

“It seems crazy to go out into the cold, but the cold is symbolic of the coldness of the society we live in right now. It’s a cold world. It’s a heartless world. It’s a mean-spirited world,” said St. Sabina co-pastor Father Michael Pfleger. “We are going to have to go out into the cold and warm it up, not just with our presence but with our truth and with our love and with our justice.”

He encouraged those gathered to follow King’s example.

“If there’s anything King taught us and taught me was there was nothing out here that we’re facing that we cannot overcome if we come together,” Pfleger said.

King inspired the priest’s ministry after the civil rights leader marched in Chicago in 1966. A teenager growing up in Marquette Park at the time, Pfleger rode his bike over to see the march and what he witnessed changed him forever.

He recalls seeing “so much hate” and even people he knew from his parish and neighborhood throwing rocks, bottles and trash at the marchers. Afterward, Pfleger went home and read everything he could about King and has been advocating for civil rights ever since.

King’s legacy called other participants to march.

“I came out because Chicago needs healing. I feel that our presence, and, quite frankly, our silence as we march and pray, hopefully will help to change some hearts and some minds in the neighborhood. Also I came out to bring attention to the fact that there are neighborhoods, not just this neighborhood, that are in need of faith,” said Viveca Coleman.

As marchers sang “Amazing Grace” parishioner Rastaffri Woods recalled growing up during the Civil Rights movement and King’s marches.

“We wouldn’t be looking at and thinking of peace in a time in which we should be thinking about this and always be looking for this [without King]. We all are human beings and all he ever tried to do was keep everything right, give us a fair chance,” said Woods. “I was one of the kids back there then. Looking at this now, this march is important – it should be important to us all, he should be important to all.” 


  • rev. martin luther king jr
  • peace

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