USA: The Roads That Bind Us
Prepared by FFWPU USA
While a diverse team of young Unificationists continues traveling across the U.S. on the Peace Road: Reconciling All People national tour, tributary events have been happening in numerous communities around the nation as well. From Kentucky to Michigan and Colorado, clergy and public officials have joined locals gathering at historic sites to share messages and prayers of peace and reconciliation in America.
Peace Road was established in 2015 by Mother of Peace Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU). The international movement has brought together hundreds of thousands of people of all backgrounds to walk, bike, and drive in solidarity for peace.
Here is a glimpse of how several communities have celebrated Peace Road 2020:
Land of Tomorrow
In Louisville, Kentucky, the Peace Road group held a special prayer on August 7 at Muhammad Ali’s gravesite, the hometown of the legendary boxer. Participants shared personal experiences and stories about Ali, who visited Unificationists in Los Angeles and deeply shared his heart while taking them for long car rides. The boxing champ was also a skilled magician, often performing tricks for them.
“Muhammed Ali was very influential in promoting racial equality and really loved Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon,” said Pastor Norm Presley. “Once, on the Johnny Carson Show, he was asked if there was something he would still like to accomplish in his life, to which he replied, ‘I would like to be able to preach like Rev. Moon.’”
Another Peace Road gathering also took place in Lexington and Nicholasville on August 9. Participants prayed at the historical marker where enslaved people were sold behind the Fayette County Courthouse, and put up Peace Road flags around the downtown monuments while giving out Dr. Moon’s memoir.
Peace Road participants in Kansas gathered on August 7 at the Japanese Garden beside the Topeka Zoo. Unificationist architect Koji Morimoto, who designed the garden grounds, shared how the design relates with the Divine Principle, the core teachings of the Unification movement. Several faith leaders then shared heartfelt messages before the group went to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, which commemorates the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to end racial segregation in public schools.
“I created a painting that portrays Linda Brown, who could not go to the white school near her house because she was black,” said participant Ju-Young Morimoto, as she shared her art with the group. “Later on, the Supreme Court decision allowed black children to go to the schools near their houses. I added a white crane and a black crane to my picture to symbolize interracial harmony.”
Roads That Bind Us
In Des Moines, Iowa, the Peace Road program on August 8 included a park cleanup at Evelyn K Davis Park, as well as prayers and messages from local faith leaders. The park gathering also inspired outreach where other locals joined the group. “We had a very thoughtful lesson on the historical importance of roads,” said Unificationist Alan Jessen. “They bind us together as people for both economic and cultural exchange, and they break down barriers leading to growth.”
The Great Lakes
Bordering The Great Lakes and Canada, Peace Road participants honored Michigan’s history in Detroit and Windsor on August 8. One group assembled at the Gateway to Freedom International Memorial to the Underground Railroad, while another gathered at a corresponding statue across the Detroit River. The monuments pay tribute to 45,000 enslaved people who passed through Detroit in the Underground Railroad to gain freedom in Canada.
“We sang and prayed for these people, asking for forgiveness and healing,” said Pastor Josue Kisile of Grand Rapids Family Church. “We shared inspiring messages of peace and reconciliation of all people, and declared our commitment to being the peace in the world.”
Land of 10,000 Lakes
Home to the most bodies of water in America, the Peace Road group in Minnesota kicked off its program on August 8 with prayers at the Saint Paul holy ground atop a hill near Como Lake. Participants also gave Dr. Moon’s memoir to local police and the fire chief in Columbia Heights, a suburb just outside the state capital rocked by protests and violence. The group then joined a televised rally at the State Capitol Building honoring first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At such a historical venue, you could feel the spirits of all those who settled this great state cheering that well deserved, long overdue gratitude was finally given to so many who long remained unappreciated,” said Peace Road participant Hyungtae Ha. “There was not a dry eye during the event. It is the spirit of all the heroes that brought us to this place and that spirit will carry us through this time and forward.”
In Colorado, which became a state 100 years after the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed, Peace Road participants came together in downtown Grand Junction on August 14. The mayor joined faith leaders and community members as the group shared messages of peace, healing, and reconciliation. “We all want to contribute to the end of racism and we want things to change for the better,” said local Unificationist Antonio Alves. “We hear the suffering hearts of our brothers and sisters of color, and we need to look inside ourselves to see how we can improve and also offer our repentance.”