On Saturday, March 24, members of the Pensacola and surrounding communities came together to march in remembrance of those students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as well as to ask the government to do something specifically regarding gun laws in order to try to prevent future tragedies. Among the larger community at the march were members of the local chapter of Episcopal Peace Fellowship and members of several local Episcopal churches. The Episcopalians, clergy and lay, met in the courtyard of Christ Church to begin the event with prayer. We then joined the larger community at the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on Palafox St.
The event began with speeches from several scheduled speakers including one moving young woman who was there to march because her cousin was killed in the attack on the concert in Las Vegas last year. The speakers were hard to hear due in part to the size of the crowd, but our spirits were still high and we could her the cheers that proceeded the speakers…This is what democracy looks like!...among others.
So many were gathered there to listen and be heard that we spilled into the Palafox market and into the street. The police officer present did a wonderful job of keeping us safe and out of traffic.
After the speeches were made, we made our way down Palafox and across to City Hall on Baylen St. EPF led the march with our banner that read, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.” I turned around as we neared the government building to display on Facebook Live Video how many marchers were marching behind us and I was overwhelmed by how long the line was and how many people from seemingly all walks of life were there to support the cause. I had to stop filming before the line concluded because I could no longer hold my arm up!
EPF is truly impressed that high school students kicked off a national and worldwide event. True to that form, young people led the march in Pensacola and we humbly supported them – grateful for their leadership. In front of the city hall, teenage girls lead us all with more cheers and we happily joined in. Take them seriously, friends and neighbors – our nation depends on it.