There were those at the event who were most concerned about us walking through the neighborhood surrounding the area, as we were in a high crime area. We simply smiled and said all is well. As I began walking, I thought about all the groups that are walking now: walking for fitness; walking for causes (breast cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, peace, the environment, etc.). And then I thought about the routes we often take and a concern arose within me.
“Are we so afraid of our troubled communities that we often prefer to walk in safe spaces and remain “walker outsiders” for causes? We may walk for peace but we stay outside of those areas that need the peace or we walk for HIV/AIDS but then we walk through pristine parks and down “uptown” corridors.
I am not criticizing any walks, we need them all. What I am doing is pointing out that we cannot become so fearful of our communities that we create barriers of fear that keep us separate, locked in the silence of dispassionate non-engagement and “victim blaming rhetoric”. When we do this, we create invisible, voiceless communities who are as foreign to us as a small, very poor community in a country far away.
In preparation for the 13 Moon Walk 4 Peace, once a week the Trail of Dreams World Peace Walkers will be walking through communities and sharing our walks and our dialogues (in our video journals that will be posted here) to begin to erode the barriers that lead to separation. Our experience from the Trail of Dreams World Peace Walk is that if we do, others will follow.