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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘Nonviolence is a way of life’

Rep. Raul Grijalva speaks in front of Old Main before marching to Reid Park on Monday.  This years Martin Luther King Jr. March paid tribute to the victims of the Tucson shooting.
Rep. Raul Grijalva speaks in front of Old Main before marching to Reid Park on Monday. This years Martin Luther King Jr. March paid tribute to the victims of the Tucson shooting.

The 26th annual The Power of a Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. March and Festival aimed to unite the Tucson community during a difficult time of loss for the city.

Several hundred people gathered on the UA Mall at 8:30 a.m. yesterday to listen to a welcome from community leaders before walking about 30 minutes to Reid Park. The Tucson-Southern Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce organizes the event each year with help from UA’s African American Student Affairs.

Speakers addressed the Jan. 8 shooting in the context of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideology.

“”And as we go forward from this dark period into a different light, let us remember that our nation is built on a democracy that insists that all of us play our part,”” said Rep. Raul Grijalva. “”Yes, my friends, we will disagree. Yes, my friends, we will have differences of opinion. But those differences of opinion in the contents of our humanity must be civil, must be respectful, and must understand that for our country to flourish, that has got to be our behavior from this day forth.””

Other speakers stressed the importance of peace, education and giving back to the community as part of Tucson’s healing process. Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup commented on Wednesday’s memorial service and the boisterous audience reaction.

“”Because we had been mourning and crying for three days, and it was an expression of we want to honor those who save lives,”” Walkup said. “”We want to do things different in the future. We want to treat people better. Nonviolence is a way of life.””

The welcome included a blessing for the Giffords family and others affected by the shooting. Attendees joined arms and sang “”Lift Every Voice”” before lining up to march.

Maria Moore, program director for African American Student Affairs, said the march drew a larger crowd than the previous two years she helped with the event.

“”I think that especially because of what’s going on in Tucson and the need for solidarity and unity, there’s more people,”” Moore said.

People carried signs depicting quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and other social justice messages as they continued along Campbell Avenue to Reid Park.

“”I think because of the incident, it’s bringing people even closer together,”” said biomedical engineering freshman Jerri-Lynn Kincade, who attended the march in previous years.

Pre-physiology freshman Ashley Rhymes said the event can help bring peace back to the community.

“”It gives us a chance to bond and escape with each other,”” she said.

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