We Marched for a Culture of Peace in Wilmington

IMG_8874 (1)

About 25 members of First Unitarian Church participated in yesterday’s March and Rally for a Culture of Peace in Wilmington. These photos are by Elizabeth Siftar, who described the march as “a powerful experience.” Leave a comment on this post to describe your experience.

Click on first photo to enlarge into a slideshow.

Next: Peace in Wilmington

It won’t be as big as the climate march, but it may mean more to Wilmington.

March for a Culture of Peace in Wilmington

Saturday, Sept. 27, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

What can we do about violence in Wilmington? Come together on Saturday to demonstrate your love and build a culture of peace. Help us create a broad community coalition against gun violence.

Meet at Brandywine Park, 18th St. & Baynard Blvd. Wilmington, at 2:45 p.m. Parking is available on nearby streets, and carpools are recommended. At the end of the march, a Call to Action Rally will be held at Brown-Burton Winchester Park (Price’s Run Park), E. 25th & Pine Sts. The route is one mile, and vans will be available to shuttle marchers back to the starting point.

Register to march here. For the route and other information, click here.

Volunteer to help on the day of the march: Email Jeff Lott.

It takes a whole community to build a culture of peace. First Unitarian Church’s Social Justice Forum is a principal organizer of this event; we’re partners with Wilmington Peacekeepers, Delaware Pacem in Terris and more than 40 other churches and community groups.



It Was Amazing

The Harrell family and Jon Claney at the People's Climate March, Sept. 21. "There Is No Planet B<" declare's Elise's sign.

The Harrell family and Jon Claney at the People’s Climate March, Sept. 21.

My feet hurt. My knees hurt. The pain rose to my hips. We had walked nearly four miles. And before we began walking, we stood still for nearly two hours, waiting for our section of the People’s Climate March to get going.

When you are one of over 300,000 people in a single protest, demanding that world leaders take action on the world’s climate, that’s the way things go. Not everyone can be at the front of the line.

As I stood, impatient that the line wasn’t moving, I realized that this is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that climate change will visit upon humankind—unless we act now. I was privileged to be here, to be part of this unprecedented protest. My feet hurt, but so what?

Twenty-six of us from First Unitarian Church were a tiny fraction of the total number of marchers—but a significant number from a 425-member congregation in Delaware—a congregation that is awakening to its potential for action

It meant a lot to us to be among the thousands who made the effort to show up in person, expressing their concern for the planet. Showing up is the first step in making change. If you stay home or don’t think the problem affects you, nothing good will happen.

Would we be missed had we not been part of the largest climate march in history? Perhaps not. But we had individually and collectively asked ourselves where we needed to be on Sept. 21.

Along those miles pavement, whether waiting or walking, we connected to something larger than ourselves. When you look at the night sky in a remote, dark place, you can see a few thousand stars—and it makes you feel small and humble in the face of the vastness and grandeur of the universe.

At the People’s Climate March, we saw humanity in the same light. A couple dozen people can’t change the world, but connect us to each other and we have a fighting chance.

—Jeff Lott

Check out First Unitarian’s Facebook page for a gallery of photos.

Climate March Surpasses Goal

Shifting Power_10487601_1457519611165684_6396538918034993375_n

Participation by members of First Unitarian Church—and a host of their children—in the Peoples Climate March has exceeded the goal set by organizers Elizabeth Siftar and Chad Tolman, who first thought that putting 20 members on the bus to New York might be a stretch. To date, the First U contingent stands at 26—about 15 percent of the 165 Delawareans who will travel to the march on buses organized by the Sierra Club. Way to go, Elizabeth and Chad!

These hardy agents of change will board buses in Newark and Wilmington around 8:00 a.m. next Sunday. The Delaware marchers will be among a hoped-for 100,000 people demanding that the United Nations act to address climate change.

Chad Tolman writes that “Sept. 21 was chosen because the next round of discussions at the UN on climate change will begin on Sept. 23, looking forward to a significant climate agreement in Paris in 2015. This march is an opportunity for Delawareans to stand up and show the world that we care about the future of our state, and about the kind of world our children and grandchildren will have to raise their families.”

Watch for photos and a report from the Peoples’ Climate March on the Connector.

Peace March Sets Route

FB Page or Header CroppedThe March for a Culture of Peace in Wilmington, set for Saturday Sept. 27, has designated its starting and ending points.

The one-mile march will form at 18th and Washington Streets, at the southern edge of Brandywine Park, the site of the war memorials. The march will cross through several East Side neighborhoods, both above and below Market Street, and end at Brown-Burton Winchester Park at 25th and Pine streets.

First Unitarian Church’s Social Justice Forum is one of three principal organizers of the march, which will culminate with a half-hour rally in the city park, also known to local residents as Price’s Park. The church has joined longtime Delaware peace activists Pacem in Terris and the community group Wilmington Peacekeepers in organizing the march. Weekly meetings of the steering committee are being held at First Unitarian on Tuesdays at 2:00 pm in Room 25.

A downloadable pdf of this map is available here.

A downloadable pdf of this map is available here.

The march is gathering an impressive list of co-sponsors—church and community groups concerned with the impact of gun violence on our city and its families, especially young people. Labor Day Weekend saw the 19th and 20th fatalities on our streets in 2014, a record-setting pace of murders.

A list of the sponsoring organizations is found at the march website along with a call for additional sponsors. Our goal is to build a new statewide coalition of individuals and groups who will work together to solve this heartbreaking problem.

The march will begin at 3:00 pm on Sept. 27. Unitarian Universalists are called to show how they are truly standing on the side of love by turning out in large numbers to support our neighbors.

For up-to-date information on the March for a Culture of Peace in Wilmington, go to the march website. Subscribe for regular email updates. Come to meetings. Put the march on your calendar and get to 18th and Washington by 3:00 on the 27th.

Remember, showing up is the first step in healing our city. You may not live in Wilmington, but you can make a difference.

When You Sign Up for the Bus


Here’s a suggestion that will help keep the First Unitarian contingent together.

When you go to the Eventbrite site to get your seat(s) on the People’s Climate March bus from Delaware, you’ll get a choice of pickup locations. Many of us are choosing the Brandywine Town Center, where the bus will arrive at approximately 8:30 a.m.

The People’s Climate March is shaping up to be the largest demonstration on climate change in history. More details about the march are appearing daily on the PCM website. We are nearing our goal of 20 participants from First Unitarian.

Do you think that folks who don’t believe human-caused climate change is a reality could muster 100,000 people to deny that there is a crisis?

Now’s the time to commit.