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Wed, Feb. 26

Peaceful MLK Day march draws hundreds (Photo Gallery)

Vietnam veteran Ray Cage carries the Veterans for Peace flag, marching with 400 others for the first time in the MLK Day celebration in Prescott on Monday.
Photo by Sue Tone.

Vietnam veteran Ray Cage carries the Veterans for Peace flag, marching with 400 others for the first time in the MLK Day celebration in Prescott on Monday.

photo

Mary Steenhoek prepares to join the MLK Day March on Monday in Prescott “because of what this sign says.”

PRESCOTT — Minutes before beginning the march, participants heard safety instructions that included directions to ignore any hecklers and keep walking. Those instructions proved unnecessary on Jan. 16 as about 400 marchers celebrated a peaceful Martin Luther King Jr. Day March in Prescott.

Mary Steenhoek walked because of what her homemade sign with a photo of King stated: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

“I believe in justice for everybody,” she said before the march began. At the conclusion of the 40-minute walk, she said, “I felt a lot of support from the bystanders. It was a very happy day.”

On a bright, albeit chilly, morning, four Prescott Police motorcycle officers kept two lanes of Grove Avenue, at Prescott College, and Gurley Street clear of cars as marchers approached and circled the Yavapai County Courthouse and doubled back on Gurley to the Prescott United Methodist Church. Participants breakfasted on bagels and cream cheese donated by Einstein Bros. Bagels, and fruit, pastries and cookies donated by a member of the congregation.

Lynne Haeseler, music director with Granite Peak Universalist Unitarian Congregation, said she marched “to remind people of the core values of our humanity that Martin Luther King, Jr., demonstrated, fought for and died.”

“As Frederick Douglass said, ‘It’s really important to get out and use your legs as prayer,’” Haeseler said.

About 150 schoolchildren took part in the March, with the entire La Tierra student body walking and then participating in the children’s interactive activities afterwards. Then they returned to their school to complete several service projects. During the march, students maintained a chant, “We want peace. Peace on Earth.”

Matt Brown and his three children marched again this year, except Levi, 21 months, who rode in his stroller. Second-grader Isabella Brown is a proponent of equal rights for everyone.

“People shouldn’t be judged for their skin color,” she said.

Girl Scout Troop 79 led the march with the nation’s and troop’s flags. They handed out smaller U.S. flags and peace flags to participants of all ages.

Vietnam veteran Ray Cage carried the Veterans for Peace flag in this, his first, MLK Day rally. “I’m marching for human rights and compassion for all people,” he said.

Sponsored by the Quad City Interfaith Council, a Celebrating the Legacy Ceremony following the march took place inside the United Methodist Church, and included performances by the St. Luke Ebony Christian Church Choir, and reflections from Rabbi Jessica Rosenthal, Rev. Grace Burford, and Pastors Kirk Anderson and Misty Howick. Prescott City Council Member Billie Orr read a Proclamation.

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