December 04, 2001
Scott Gurian, a freelance reporter in New Jersey, just produced a story for Free Speech Radio about a Peace Walk with Relatives of the 9/11 Victims walking through NYC and NJ. I asked him a few questions.
K - how many peace marches have there been ?
S -This was the first long-distance peace walk focusing on the war in Afghanistan that included relatives of 9/11 victims. There have, of course, been shorter walks (and marches), such as within DC and NYC. I'm not sure if
victims' relatives were present at those.
K - are there going to be more peace marches ?
S - A few discussions had been made about having another peace walk w/ victims' relatives on the West coast, in the U.K., etc., but nothing finalized. Right now, they are trying to form an official organization of victims' relatives calling for peace, so there are a lot of logistical sort of tasks that I suspect will be taking up most of their time over the next several weeks.
K: -- are they always organized by the same group ?
S - This walk was organized by Voices in the Wilderness (the Chicago anti-sanctions group), but future walks may well be organized by the relatives themselves.
K - how do passers-by react to the peace marchers ?
S - For the most part, I think passers-by understood the somber tone of the walk-- as it was more of a vigil than a protest or "march." Even in downtown Manhattan, most people were respectful. Sometimes they were a bit agressive until they realized that the walk included victims' families. The worst area was in the suburbs of New Jersey (in towns next to mine) where a lot of people heckled and were very unfriendly to the walkers. Keep in mind, though, that this area has been particularly hard hit by the events of 9/11, and a lot of people know someone who died...
K - how are the non-white Americans reacting to this -- how is the immigrant population reacting ??
S - I haven't really noticed how the minority population has been responding differently to the peace walk [or if they have] than other segments of the population. I can just say that the walk had a lot of support when it stopped at the Calvary Baptist Church in working-class, predominantly African American Chester, PA. MLK also began his preaching career there. As you heard in the report, the walk also stopped at a mosque in Paterson, NJ and-- needless to say-- there was a lot of support there as well.