Baltimore club members help greet the Pilgrimage for Peace

BY: Baltimore CPUSA| February 23, 2024
Baltimore club members help greet the Pilgrimage for Peace


“What is happening in Gaza is unacceptable.” This was the theme of an event on Mon., Feb. 19 at Payne Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church, located in a historic Black district of Baltimore.

From Feb. 14–21, beginning on the first day of Lent, about 350 Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and the non-religious put their beliefs into action, marching for eight days from Philadelphia to the U.S. seat of power, Washington, D.C. They arrived at the White House on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

Monday’s event marked the Pilgrimage for Peace’ Baltimore stop on the journey, and members of the Baltimore club were there in attendance with other community members to support the sojourners. There, participants of the march called on the divine spirit and the beloved community to rise up and end the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The audience of about 500 was welcomed by Reverend Melech E. M. Thomas, senior pastor of Payne Memorial. He thanked the National Council of Churches, a partnering organization for the pilgrimage, along with Faith for Black Lives, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Rabbis for Ceasefire, and Hindus for Human Rights.

The evening included music by the Payne Memorial choir, singing from the Quran and Hebrew writings, and international folk music. A young Gazan American woman read her poetry expressing anger about this killing being paid for by us. Her mother, Laila el-Haddad told the crowd that 100 of her relatives have been killed in the Israeli assault, but that even these numbers do not fully express the destruction of their lives. “We have lost our homes, our neighbors, and we are told that Palestinians have no right to defend themselves.” El-Haddad testified to the International Court of Justice recently in the case brought by the Republic of South Africa charging Israel with genocide. In that testimony she said, “…it obligates us to do everything we can, to take every possible recourse including legal recourse, to try and put an end to this, since it’s our tax dollars.”

General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy spoke, reading a paraphrased Song of Lamentation by James Weldon Johnson emphasizing the need for a ceasefire. A single rose was given to each walker on the pilgrimage by Palestinian women. The evening ended with the Baptist tradition of neighbor turning to neighbor and saying “Evening neighbor, I am working for peace.”

Image: Baltimore CPUSA


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