Hundreds march through Columbia in anti-Trump peace walk
Organizer Audrey Lockwood: “It’s the only thing that has given me true hope since the results. You don’t feel alone anymore when this many people in a community help you accomplish something for peace.”
Nov. 18, 2016
Hundreds of Columbia residents gathered Nov. 16 at Peace Park for the Peace Walk Against Hate to walk in solidarity with the community; ending at a rally in the quad of the Boone County Courthouse .
Stephens College junior Audrey Lockwood organized the walk as a peace demonstration for the community. Renee said safety, strength and solidarity were the focuses of the event.
“I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’” Lockwood said. “Instead of sitting behind Facebook and complaining or being upset and emotional. What am I doing to make sure people feel safe, and that they feel not everyone believes the things that resulted in this election.”
Lockwood created the Facebook group Official Peace Walk Against Hate on Nov. 9. The group started with 40 members, but quickly gained more than 2,000. People began gathering at Peace Park at 6 p.m. By 7 p.m., hundreds of people gathered at Peace Park to begin the walk.
The crowd sang songs of peace and held signs displaying “Equality” and “Loves Trumps Hate” as the attendees waited for the walk to begin. People dressed in black to show support for victims of discrimination. Organizations from the community participated in the event.
“I am here to walk in solidarity with people who desire peace and are willing to come out and express that desire publically,” general manager of KOPN community radio David Owens said. “We can be mere spectators of what’s going down or we can be active participants.”
The walk itself took almost 40 minutes, and it ended with a rally on the amphitheater outside of Boone County Courthouse. Six people from various minority spoke about racism, people living with disabilities, rights for indigenous people, Islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination. The speakers read poetry, spoke and sang to the crowd.
Nadia Irsheidat, a Muslim immigrant, spoke to the crowd about her fear for her family after the election results.
"I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and think, 'What slur am I going to hear today?'" Irsheidat said.
Each of the speakers emphasized the power of listening, and how solidarity comes from the amplification of marginalized voices.
“I find hope in gatherings like this,” said Angela Speck, an MU Physics department professor and previous Faculty Council Diversity Enhancement chairwoman. “I find hope in the fact that people are stepping up and saying we do not accept this. Just coming out and being here is worthwhile.”
The amphitheatre began clearing out at 8 p.m. after the final speaker. Many people shed tears and embraced as Lockwood thanked the crowd and called the rally to an end.
“This was successful,” Lockwood said. “It’s the only thing that has given me true hope since the results; that you don’t feel alone anymore when this many people in a community help you accomplish something for peace.”
Edited by Emily Gallion | firstname.lastname@example.org