Source: The Enquirer
Marching for Justice on Mlk Day Displays Compassion Through Action
On Monday, we will commemorate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., our country’s most revered civil rights icon. Our community will do so with a series of inspiring events that call upon all of us to work for a "beloved community."
Among the events on MLK Day will be a march that fittingly begins at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center at 10:30 a.m. Amid the hundreds of marchers that day will be persons of faith, of many faiths, whose respective religious teachings instruct them to pursue compassion and justice for everyone, believers and non-believers alike. More than 14 world religions, both eastern and western in origin, encompassing three dozen distinct traditions that worship here in our community share this moral mandate. They are brothers and sisters for a compassionate and just Cincinnati. On Monday, we will march in solidarity.
The nonprofit EquaSion through its several interfaith programs has brought them together. Its annual Festival of Faiths has fostered greater awareness, understanding and respect among our diverse faiths. Its "A Mighty Stream" racial justice program has given them an avenue for sacred activism. And, its Faith Communities Go Green initiative, a collaboration with Green Umbrella, engages our diverse faiths in common cause of caring for creation. Together, these and other activities serve EquaSion’s motto of "compassion through action."
Marcus Parrish, with Sinai Temple No. 59, from East Walnut Hills, center, listens to a prayer at the end of the 47th Annual Commemorative March to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day, Jan. 17, 2022. The march started at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and concluded at Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.
One such action is marching for justice on MLK Day. Why do we march? What’s the point of this seemingly mild gesture of good will in the face of our highly polarized and politicized environment that discourages our aspirations and mutes our hopes for ever achieving a beloved community in Cincinnati? What can we marchers accomplish?
In truth, it’s a lot. By getting out of our comfortable homes and joining others at the Freedom Center on a winter’s morning, we achieve some important purposes. Here are some that I have experienced:
I have been inspired by the warm camaraderie from walking with others who share my social values and hopes, comforted in knowing that I’m not alone.
I have felt a measure of religious integrity for acting on what my good book tells me to do.
I have felt that I am making a modest contribution to a righteous cause by my taking of a public stand for justice (in stark contrast to the postings of anti-social tropes on social media).
Despite the freezing temperatures hundreds participated in the 47th Annual Commemorative March to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day, Jan. 17, 2022. The march started at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and concluded at Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.
This simple gesture of participating in the MLK Day march has motivated me to do more for the cause of social justice. History tells us that marching leads to stronger actions. Moreover, as part of a large assemblage of justice-seekers, I have felt, as other marchers for justice and freedom have before me, some political power in this exercise of protesting the unjust inequities that persist in our society. The forces of division and hate must be reminded that we exist, we persons of faith, and that we represent the predominant values of our community.
These and other benefits of marching on MLK Day await all those who want to be counted, who want to live out their faith, by showing up at the Freedom Center on Monday at 10:30 a.m. We look forward to seeing you there.
Chip Harrod is the executive director of EquaSion, a nonpartisan, civic nonprofit informed by interfaith dialogue that promotes inclusion, equity, and justice for everyone in Greater Cincinnati. For more information: https://www.equasion.org/).