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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Northeast Georgia Peace Walk to Mark 30 Years on January 17

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People from across Habersham County and the region will gather on the Clarkesville Square at 2 p.m. Sunday for the 30th Annual Northeast Georgia Peace Walk. (PHOTO/Stanley Foster)

For three decades, a peaceful gathering of diverse friends and neighbors has taken the legacy of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the streets of Habersham County to share hope, song and community connectivity.

This group will honor the 30th Anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Northeast Georgia Peace Walk at 2 p.m. Sunday January 17.

Participants will gather at the gazebo on the square in downtown Clarkesville and walk to Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church for a program of celebration.

“It is an opportunity for us to gather groups that don’t often gather together and to see who ‘we’ are,” said Fr. Sam Buice, Priest-in-Charge at Grace-Calvary.

“The peace walk is, and will always be, an important display of love, unity, and fellowship among ALL people.”  ~ Portia Burns, Youth Pastor and Associate Music Minister, Shady Grove Baptist Church

According to Julianne Wilson, one of the more than 16 organizers of the event, this year will be especially significant.

“Over the years we have worked to bring diversity to the celebration – and a few times have managed to get Hispanic or Laotian groups involved, but never both together,” Wilson said. “This year we will have black, white, Hispanic, Laotian, and Native Americans all participating in song or inspirational readings during the celebration.  What a joyous accomplishment!”

‘Many Waves, One Ocean: Joying in the Sea of Humanity’

This year, special funding has made possible the creation of blue scarves for each person. The Dream Weavers, a self-advocacy group for developmentally challenged adults, who have been faithful supporters of the peace walk for many years made the scarves for the event. “The blue scarves will showcase this year’s theme, ‘Many Waves, One Ocean: Joying in the Sea of Humanity,’ “ Wilson said.

2016 Peace Walk logo“We see a common theme being a sense of weaving people together and celebrating our unity and our diversity.”

Linking to the international Blue Scarf peace movement was also a goal, Wilson added.

During the program, attendees will also be given a second scarf to take home to a friend or co-worker – creating a wave of blue around the region.

This tradition of walking for peace is embedded in the hearts of many Northeast Georgians, and while many faces in the crowd will be familiar, it is important to invite newcomers to the event, Wilson said. The event is free and open to the public.

Once the group arrives at Grace-Calvary, a program including peace prayers of several faiths, music and speakers will commence.

Confirmed participants for the program include Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church, Shady Grove Baptist Church, Dream Weavers, Bean Creek Baptist Church, a local Latino choir, Women of Heart drummers and a special blessing by a member of the Baha’i faith. Also on the program will be a duet by Joanne Steele and Rebecca Steele Obermeier.

Steele has been involved in the Peace Walk nearly since the first year, and her daughter Rebecca remembers walking for the first time when she was just a toddler, Wilson said.

“This year she will have her own toddler daughter with her,” Wilson said. “A beautiful symbol of the generations passing the torch of peace from one to the next as our journey to a more just and joyfully diverse world continues.”

Steele will also be performing another song with a young White County musician and nationally recognized storyteller, Hannah Sage From.

The Dream Weavers will present a “Dreamweaver of the Year” award to a member of the community who has contributed to peace in a meaningful way.

Organizers are asking for contributions of light, finger food appetizers and desserts to share. Food can be dropped off between 12:30-1:45 p.m. at Grace-Calvary’s fellowship hall, St. Julian Hall, 260 E. Green Street, Clarkesville.

Parking will be available on the square, at the Habersham County Administrative Office Building (formerly known as the Habersham County Courthouse), and at Grace-Calvary. Any who want to participate but are unable to walk are welcome to join the celebration at the church.

For more information on the event, email Julianne Wilson at thrivingspirit@me.com, or find the event on Facebook.

For more information on the Blue Scarf movement, visit thebluescarf.org.

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