Ventura County Churches Gather for “United for Peace” March
By Aide Raya
“I am thrilled to have heard a pastor mention, “This is the first of many peace marches to come.” There was definitely a sweet spirit of peace in the atmosphere” – Aide Raya
Oxnard, CA– On Saturday, June 22, 2013, history was made in Ventura County. Over 30 churches gathered at Plaza Park for a “United for Peace” march. There were a total of 564 attendees in the peace march.
It was a beautiful day that started with opening remarks and prayers from the pastors that coordinated this much needed event for our community. I observed people from all walks of life and all races coming together, holding hands and praying and singing heartfelt songs like, “This Little Light of Mine” and “This is the Day that the Lord Has Made.”
Many people passed by in their vehicles reading signs held by peace march attendees that read “No Violence”, “How Good It Is for People of All Races to Come Together in Unity”, “United for Peace”, and my personal favorite, “Taking Back Our City”. People did not allow anything to withhold them from taking part in the march; many parents wheeled their small children in strollers. The event had staff standing by with vehicles ready to assist participants who were unable to walk the entire distance. I observed several people participate by vehicle.
In the past few months, Ventura County has experienced a significant amount of violence, especially amongst teenagers. In fact, the crime activity to date has almost surpassed the number of crimes that occurred in the entire year of 2010. This alarming rate would make anyone think, “Can anything be done to help stop the violence?”
Declarations were made by many pastors that provided words of comfort to friends and family that have lost loved ones to the recent outpouring of violence. There were also words of encouragement spoken for every teen, “You are not alone. You have pastors that are here for you, standing with you. We are here in representation of God. Do not fear!”
The Oxnard Police Department graciously escorted the participants in the peace march and ensured the safety of all participants.
I stayed at the park after the peace march was over, speaking to participants and savoring the manifestation of God upon our city. I felt the presence of God underneath the breeze of the gorgeous trees. It was powerful!
Songs were sang by pastors that spoke about the differences we all share as human beings, but at the end of the day we are all brothers and sisters. Together we made a difference. A message was declared that we will not be moved and that if God is with us, what man shall we fear?