Peace walk begins here Monday

Published 12:22 am Thursday, January 14, 2010

Brown Chapel AME Church is asking all members of the community to gather at the church on Monday, Jan. 18 at noon for a “Stop the Violence March,” an event to raise awareness about the violence within the community and those affected by the violence.

Participants are asked to congregate at the church as early as 11 a.m. so the march can begin promptly at noon.

Leading the march will be an open casket on a horse-drawn buggy, which serves as a symbol of the results of violence in statically proven predominately African-American neighborhoods where African-American on African-American crimes are still on the rise. The casket will display donated photos of those lost to violence in Selma.

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One of the heads of the event, the Rev. Michael Brown, has worked with members of the community to create this non-violent march in downtown Selma.

“We want to send awareness to the community that we are no longer going to stand back and let this happen in our community,” Rev. Bowen said. “We have people willing and able to step to the plate and say we are sick and tired of this happening.”

Bowen thought that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was a good day to select for the march because Dr. King believed in non-violence.

The march will continue from Brown Chapel on Martin Luther King Street, J. L. Chestnut Boulevard, Broad Street, stop at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and then head back to Brown Chapel by way of Water Avenue. More than 200 schoolchildren and 21 people with “Stop the violence” sweatshirts will participate.

All ministers, city officials, teachers and members of the community are invited.

“This is everybody’s march,” Rev. Bowen said.

Rev. Bowen will also be raising donations for the Safe Haven Shelter, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, for the homeless. The center will be constructed in either a location within Selma city limits or outside of city limits. In order to purchase the property and build the center, Mr. Bowen needs to raise $250,000. To donate to the shelter, make check outs to Safe Haven/ “Stop the Violence,” and bring donations to the march on Monday or mail them to P.O. Box 1971, Selma, Ala. 36701.

“We really want to put a foot-hole and make an impact on the violence,” Mr. Bowen said. “We no longer can sit back and close the door and hope it goes away.”

To have a photo of a loved one on the casket, contact Mr. Bowen at 334-875-0794. All photos need to be turned in by Sunday, Jan. 17.