More than 250 local residents joined together on campus yesterday to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 62nd birthday with a rally to promote non-violence. But the protesters had more than historical reasons for the rally, advocating peace as the country faces war in the Middle East and rising crime in the nation's cities. The protesters chanted "End your silence, stop the violence" and other peace slogans as they marched from 38th and Market Streets to 40th and Locust Walk. The marchers, organized by the WUSL-FM Community Advisory Committee, urged an end to violence at home and abroad. The march followed a luncheon to honor King's birthday at the African Methodist Episcopalian Church. Mayor Wilson Goode said in an interview before the march that he remains hopeful about peace in the gulf despite recent failures to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis. "[A] tribute to Dr. King comes at a time when it appears as if war is inevitable. I hope that peace is inevitable. It's an appropriate tribute to him," Goode said. Goode addressed both urban violence and the Gulf crisis at the Locust Walk rally. "Too many of our young folk are dying at the hands of other young folk," Goode said. Many of the protesters were affiliated with One Day At a Time, a self-help organization for recovering drug addicts. Anthony Butts, an alcohol and drug counselor for ODAT and a recovering drug addict, explained in a speech that a large part of Philadelphia's violence can be attributed to drugs. Bennie Swan, a candidate for an at-large seat in the Philadelphia City Council, said the United States faces a two-front war, both abroad and in our cities. "I don't want to see people die in the Gulf, nor in the streets of Philadelphia," Swan said in an interview before the march. "If there is a war to declare, it's here in the streets and cities, to stop homocide." WUSL Production Director Angela High said that yesterday's rally was the second demonstration to end violence organized by the committee. "I feel good about what's happening, people are pulling together for a positive cause - peace," High said. The rally also featured twelve-year-old Diana Jones who wrote and sang a song of prayer for United States troops in the Persian Gulf to come home safely. WUSL Production Director High said that the station's Community Advisory Committee is planning future demonstrations to push for anend of both local and international violence.Comments powered by Disqus
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