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Memphis Peace Walk inspires community healing, unity

By Donna Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Nov 1, 2019 - 9:40:35 AM

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Assembling for the walk. The Memphis Peace Walk was held in mid-October to kick off the Holy Day of Atonement and 24th anniversary of the Million Man March. Various community groups participated.

MEMPHIS—Despite an unseasonable overnight temperature drop, over 100 people braved 40-degree weather to gather for the recent Memphis Peace Walk.

Dubbed on social media #peaceinthestreets901, the 1.1 mile walk began at Wooddale High School and ended at McFarland Community Center, where more people gathered for an afternoon Family Day to kick off the Holy Day of Atonement and 24th anniversary weekend of the historic 1995 Million Man March.

The event was the inspiration of Student Minister Anthony Muhammad, the Mid-South representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in a call for peace in the streets. Vsha Williams of V. Williams Agency and Drum Squad Records; LaDell Beamon, Heal the Hood Foundation; Kenney “Dirty Fresh” Coleman and members of Muhammad Mosque No. 55 worked tirelessly for three weeks leading up to the October 12 event.

As the weekend drew near, support began to pour in from various organizations and individuals as the principal organizers appeared at press conferences, local radio programs, and community programs. Drumma Boy, a rap artist originally from Memphis, Tenn., lent the support of his talent through a public service announcement played throughout the city on radio stations and on social media.

Walk ends in family dance. Photos:Donna Muhammad

(L) Youth Event photographers (C) Some of the event organizers. (R) Youth take to the stage.

As the diverse group of participants walked the streets of Memphis, chants of “we walk in peace” filled the streets with people winding their way into the community center where the event took on the air of a family reunion with line dancing, activities for children, field sports and free food.

Despite the festive atmosphere, there was also a tone of healing and reconciliation. Throughout the day there was spoken word and positive musical performances that addressed issues experienced in the community and the need for healing. Community activists presented concerns of the impact of gentrification and being carved out of grant monies issued to the city of Memphis. A health fair provided attendees with blood pressure screenings and vital health information based upon the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the book, “How to Eat to Live.”

A particularly moving presentation was by Jennette Addison, the Angel Mom and mother of Toshia Addison, best known as Choosey Parker. Ms. Parker was CEO of Choosey Productions, a film production company and was an activist with the Ride of Tears anti-gun violence group, through which she fought to eliminate crime and violence in Memphis.

She was an integral part of the Hip Hop Leadership Roundtable convened in Memphis by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during the national tour to promote 10.10.15, the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March. Ms. Parker was the victim of a shooting in the spring of 2018 and died a month later from her injuries.

Some of the presenters, supporters and entertainers included Joyce Dorse-Coleman, Shelby County School Board; John Bush, principal of Wooddale High School; Stevie Moore, founder of F.F.U.N. an anti-gun violence activist; Ameerah Muhammad, youth representative; Thomas Muhammad, youth representative; Mon Ruffin, Shon Skonie, Lis Shug, Iyana, B Radical, Danny Frizzell, Mantial De Vida from Assembly of God; and Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner.

At the close of the event, all agreed that this was not the end, but the beginning of something big in Memphis.