2020 ‘Bridge Walk for Peace’ marches on virtually

Since 2008, the Rev. David W. Brown, a deacon in the Eastern PA Conference, has led a special, early dawn walk across Ben Franklin Bridge in Central Philadelphia to commemorate the tragic day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. Walkers would reach the pinnacle at sunrise (about 7 AM) and pray together for peace and healing.

The Bridge Walk for Peace is the “longest running commemoration of its kind in the country,” said Brown. But this year it became a virtual walk to avoid a physical gathering that would violate the city’s social distancing prohibition caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Faithful participants came together individually April 4 to create a Bridge Walk video, each reciting a recorded line from Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in their various locations. Their separate contributions were combined to make a symbolic whole that was certainly greater than the sum of its parts.

The participants included our own Bishop Peggy Johnson, plus Lauren Haye (nurse), the Rev. Dr. Donna Jones (pastor/activist), Dr. David Mindich (Temple University journalism professor), Singobile Sitole (social worker), Rabbi David Straus (of the Main Line Reform Temple), Lorene Cary (award-winning author/playwright), and Brown, who also teaches at Temple and serves as a deacon at Wharton-Wesley UMC in Philadelphia.

“The diversity of who we are and what we do represents the Beloved Community that honors Dr. King’s legacy,” said Brown. “Let’s keep building bridges together.”

Watch the video. which lasts under a minute.  Also, watch CBS Philly’s coverage of the 2012 march.

And read our coverage of the 2016 Bridge Walk for Peace: “Crossing Bridges for Peace.