Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda &
The historic Selma to Montgomery trail is our favorite Pilgrimage to walk. Not only is it rich in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, it is also a meditation on race in today's society. We have walked this trail 16 times, five times with Civil Rights organizations and the remainder organized by ourselves. After a decade and a half, we have come to the conclusion that white people need to walk this trail far more than African Americans because we can only address racism in America by first recognizing its hold on our own hearts.
We will walk from Selma to Montgomery every year in March (to coincide with Selma's Bridge Crossing Jubilee) until our feet can no longer carry us. Please plan to join us soon.
2015 was the 50th anniversary of the first Selma to Montgomery March. A hundred thousand crowded into the small town to mark the occasion and hundreds completed the entire 54-mile trail. Here, set to music, is our tribute.
2017 Peace Pilgrimage to Oak Ridge, July 30 to August 6
Here are pictures from the Peace Walk from Asheville, NC to Oak Ridge, TN, set to music. The interlude with no music is Azule, promoting peace through community, art, and craft near Hot Springs, NC. We ended at Y-12, the nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, and joined our voices with the 122 nations who voted to ban nuclear weapons in July. Thank you to those countries and to all who work for a work without nuclear.
Selma-Montgomery Peace Pilgrimages -- 2019 and 2018.
Every year we walk the 54-mile historic route from Selma to Montgomery, retracing the steps of the original marchers in 1965 whose courage, perseverance and righteousness led to the Voting Rights Act.
On the five-year anniversaries, we join the Civil Rights organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as they organize a large commemorative event that lasts a week and includes evening mass meetings along with the day's walking. The next 5-year commemoration is in 2020.
Our Peace Pilgrimages are more humble, usually around a dozen or so people walking Highway 80 and reflecting on race in America. We have been doing this "off-years" walk for about 15 years. For the last two years, we have been a group of 8. The walk starts with the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, the largest annual Civil Rights gathering in the country, commemorating the "Bloody Sunday" event that shocked the nation. Beginning in 2019, we end the Pilgrimage in Montgomery at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, i.e., the Lynching Memorial. This memorial is the work of the Equal Justice Initiative [eji.org], a nonprofit legal organization that seeks to educate by showing the direct connection between slavery and today's mass incarceration, and between lynching and today's death penalty.
2019-Visiting the National Memorial for
Peace and Justice in Montgomery
Photos from 2018, Selma-to-Montgomery
It was a sacred journey that started with more than 100,000 descending on Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Bridge Crossing. On the way we walked with hundreds of people young and old, including some of the original marchers, were hosted in grand style by Macedonia Church in Montgomery and felt the joy of being part of something much bigger than ourselves.
WHAT TO KNOW, WHAT TO BRING
- We walk an average of 15 miles per day. Generally, we will walk for an hour -- about 3 miles -- and take a break. Everyone is encourage to make his or her best effort, however, a support vehicle is available for the foot-sore and the weary.
- You are welcome to join for an hour, a day or the entire walk.
- The support vehicle also carries the luggage, water to refill water bottles and food for the day.
- We stay mainly in churches and homes, and everyone needs to bring a sleeping bag and pad and be prepared to sleep on the floor.
- Daily chores on the Pilgrimage can include packing up vehicles, cleanup of the vehicle(s), setting out lunch & cleanup, cleanup at our stay place and evening meal preparation. Everyone can pitch in.
- Things to bring: sleeping bag & sleeping pad; good walking shoes, preferably ones that are half a size big as your feet will swell with the walking; water bottle as well as your own plate, cup and utensils; a hat to block the sun. Even so, PLEASE PACK AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE.
- No pets please. Let us know if you need to bring a service animal.
- No drugs, no alcohol.
Please contact us with specific questions.