Peace March in Oak Park, Austin set for June 13

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Three Oak Park residents have organized a peace march through Oak Park and Austin to demonstrate neighborly support and a desire to bridge the racial divide between the two communities.

Taking place June 13 at noon, the group will start in Oak Park at Austin Boulevard and Madison Street then walk westward through Austin ending in Garfield Park.  

"We need respect. People just want to live. I figure peace is the best way to go," said Damien Jones, who organized the march with Danielle Kovack and Deidra Avery Jackson.

Oak Park residents live in a bubble, Jones believes, and that bubble shields them from the struggles and disenfranchisement faced by those living in Austin.

"With all of the challenges and issues we're facing right now, if we don't make a strong commitment right now for peace, then that protective bubble is going to burst," he said.

Jones hopes the march will help break down the barriers between the two communities and lead to unity.

 "It's the wider community — the human community," Jones said.

The organizers also intend for the march to be a call for law enforcement to address systemic racism and the use of violence.

"One of the greatest joys of doing this is marching through a community that is so supportive and happy to see this in our lifetime," Kovack said. "The more we bring peace by marching and chanting and saying the names of the lives that have been lost — and there's just so many — I believe we can make a change."

Kovack and Jones hope to see a large crowd come out June 13 and to continue the momentum.

"Let's have compassion and transparency and love for your neighbor," Jones said.


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Reader Comments

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Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 12th, 2020 1:52 PM

Of course we live in a bubble. The fact that anyone would question this shows how far we need to go. Oak Park doesn't represent most people's America. Have you experienced first hand the racism in this country on a daily basis? Unless the answer is yes you live in a bubble period. That doesn't make any of us bad. It just means we need to listen more than talk and try to better understand the real issues in this country and how we can help.

Susan Hofflander from Oak Park  

Posted: June 12th, 2020 10:29 AM

Unlike the other commenters here, I'd prefer to listen and acknowledge that we DO live in a bubble. Doesn't mean that we're ignorant to the issues, but they're not affecting our lives directly. Let's not be arrogant about that assertion, let's just listen for a minute and acknowledge the truth that lies therein. What I'm wondering is if the march organizers will please post mask and distancing recommendations so people can be prepared before they leave their homes?

Mary Darnall from Oak Park  

Posted: June 11th, 2020 8:44 AM

First, the march moves EAST to Garfield Park from Austin. I agree not everyone lives in a bubble, but many of us have been clueless as how to help make the insanity stop. This includes all races, genders and, dare I say it, police and residents. Thank you Damien Jones, Danielle Kovack, and Deirdra Avery for organizing this event. I may not be able to march the distance, but I can march up to my black neighbors and reach out to black strangers and tell them I CARE and I will commit to being ANTIRACIST. We can all make that commitment and be a part of the solution. I wonder how many of our POC know that they are respected and loved because of who they are and all they bring our lives? I am just one person, but I want you to know that is how I feel. I know I am not alone.

Janice Rasheed from Oak Park  

Posted: June 10th, 2020 1:53 PM

The Peace March is a very positive event and I commend you all for organizing this event. But with all due respect, not all of us Oak Parkers "live in a bubble"-if by this statement you mean ...we tend to have blinders on and remain (purposefully) unaware and/or do nothing to combat the social & economic conditions of our neighbors. We all need to work harder to avoid divisive language & negative assumptions about each other. Ones economic status (high or low) does not guarantee that your eyes are open to social & economic injustices. I have relatives who live in the Garfield Park area, that have chosen to ignore these injustices and stopped fighting for their neighborhoods and have put "blinders on"-perhaps because they feel overwhelmed & hopeless or (I don't know-you'd have to ask them)? But please-don't judge us because of our residential address!

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