Silent walk for peace - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Silent walk for peace

October 8, 2005

Tifton-- Tifton religious leaders hope to end the violence in the area with a special walk. The walk began at city hall in Tifton and ended at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church where seven murder victims were memorialized.

In Tifton, dozens of people take to the streets to walk for peace. "The people are here to support one another," says Father Alfonso Gutierrez. Walkers put each foot forward in hopes of building unity. They're using the light from candles as a guide.

"When we have some dark situations, we need light from God. From our faith, we can find light," says Father Gutierrez. They hope that light leads them to understanding. "I hope so. I hope so," says Father Gutierrez.

The footsteps will help to walk away from fear after a string of deadly home invasions that left six Hispanic men dead. "I was scared because everybody says different things," says walker Angel Aguilar. The six men are honored in the march along with an African-American man killed in a separate murder by a Hispanic male. "We're all people and it doesn't matter colors or anything. We're persons and it hurts when you hurt somebody from any community," says Aguilar.

With the exception of the beating of a drum, the procession is silent but leaders hope the message is loud and clear. "The message, we can be here together in Tifton and share the life, the place, everything," says Father Gutierrez.

"I'm white and I'm Jewish. What brought me out was to join with them in solidarity," says walker Susan Eigen. Solidarity and silence also gives walkers a chance to think.

"Not only to talk to yourself but also an opportunity to talk with God," says Father Gutierrez. They pray the violent deaths have finally ended. "I, I hope it gives anybody in there who's despondent, I hope it gives them heart," says Eigen.

With a community of hearts and feet, it's the first step to bringing peace, unity and understanding.

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