South Holland hosts Unity Walk for second year

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Unity Walk
Roughly 120 people made their way south on South Park Avenue as part of a 1.5-mile round trip walk to support peace and unity in South Holland. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
By Josh Bootsma

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (June 19, 2021) – Roughly 120 walkers took to the streets on Friday to support peace and hope in South Holland as part of the village’s second Unity Walk. Using language from Bible verse Micah 6:8, the walk encouraged the community to “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.”

The event featured a 1.5-mile round trip walk in South Holland which started at Calvary Community Church at 16341 South Park Avenue and travelled to Redeemer Lutheran Church at 651 E 166th Street before walking back to Calvary.

Unity Walk
Rev. Phil Tarver welcomes the crowd ahead of the 2021 South Holland Unity Walk. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Rev. Phil Tarver of United Faith Center Ministries International welcomed the crowd and sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before Rev. Alfonzo Surrett Jr. encouraged the crowd to be joined in unity.

“We all don’t look alike, we all are not the same size, we are not all the same color. But we all, when we come together, we make up one body. Do you know what body that is? The body of Christ,” Surrett Jr. said.

Rev. Carmin Frederick-James also spoke, and encouraged the crowd to be rooted in hope and remember the focus of this year’s walk: “Reflecting and moving forward.” As part of moving forward, she encouraged those present to “trust the science” and receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The walk is the second such event the Village of South Holland has done in collaboration with the South Holland Ministerial Association in recent years, with the first occurring in late June of last year during a summer that was full of social justice-oriented events.

Among the additional speakers were John Purnell of Abounding Life Church of God in Christ; Megan Norris, Community Policing Officer at the South Holland Police Department; and South Holland Mayor Don De Graff.

Unity Walk
South Holland Mayor Don De Graff acknowledged the hardships of racial minorities in America, and declared, “We will not tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism.” (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“We are here to connect our faith with our actions,” said De Graff. “We’re here tonight because we recognize that there are individuals and even whole people groups, racial, and ethnic, and societal groups, African-Americans, and other minorities, who over the years have not been given the respect, not been shown the care or the love that is the desire — indeed the mandate — that God himself intended for his creation.”

“Who are we are as a community? Who is South Holland? This is South Holland tonight. This is who we are. This is intentional, it’s distinctive, and it’s healing,” he added.

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