EAST PALO ALTO PEACE AND UNITY MARCH AND RALLY (2/4/07)
In recent months East Palo Alto (EPA) has been in the news - too many killings and shootings and these unwanted killings and shootings must stop. The March and Rally was held on Saturday, February 3 from 10 am to 2 pm and beyond. It just got better and better - it was awesome.
Driving through EPA you can see the faces and no mistaking the moves these are Samoans and Tongans who once lived side by side and were good neighbors. Then, the beef started because some one some where began to stir up trouble. A lot of tension took place on Fordham Street.
Taking a life or going miles from home to gun for trouble is not the Polynesian way. But, recently all over the Nation it has become fashionable to settle scores much like the wild, wild, West. We have seen more of it in Alaska and San Francisco but other places too.
When some friends mostly Polynesians and ladies at that met and decided to hold a March and Rally at EPA they really did not expect to keep their word but then the Spirit was there and prodded them to keep to their word - and just like that it happened.
Kudos, to the many organizations, to the community leaders and Law Enforcement and especially the EPA police force for staying focused and encouraging the community to do the right thing. When one has the community behind you - all else is secondary. EPA Fire Department was out in force too.
The community gathered by the Home Depot opposite the large AKIA store and from there marched to Jack Farrell Park I counted over two thousand and that was good for any first attempt by a few who really counted on luck but got more then lucky. They were blessed.
The motorcycle teams and the low riders all African American were a treated to watch. They followed the Marchers and did it with dignity. One could see the determination in the faces of the marchers. They were determined to send the message to the few trouble makers - do not cause pain, kill, and maim when you all can do better - love one another.
I saw strangers shaking hands and wishing one another all the best. At Jack Farrell Park, 2 miles way from the starting point many organizations including Faith Based Organizations were preparing food and the Bar-B-Que was scalding hot and the Chefs cooking some fine meat. There were other nourishments too and all these contributions from folks that wanted to make good stuff happen.
As the Peace March neared Jack Farrell Park most everything fell in place and the organizers were moved to tears. "We never, ever expected such a turn out. We are blessed."
Maikeli 'Iongi and Mele Vea Fifita two Polynesian youth that were killed in EPA. If the youth has seen and participated in a March such as happened on February 3, 2007 - there is a high possibility better sense would have prevailed.
Latinos, African American, Polynesians, Whites, Asians, all gathered and took turn on the stage to speak for peace. There was live music and as I said plenty of food.
The young children were having fun playing games and the youth played Rugby and factions that once did not speak to another today made truce and entertained all those that took time for this Peace Rally.
I took my turn working with a team of folks to shuttle folks from the Park back to the Home Depot parking lot where the rally began at 10 a.m. The morning gathering was interspersed with music and breakfast. There was good music and lots of eats and most everyone ready to march. Now as we brought people back by van we all could hear the comments and they were all good.
There was a 71 year old man with his walking stick but his gait defiant to complete this march. This one man was the symbol of what this march and rally was all about. What would compel a man in his seventies to walk with the community most of them in their early twenties and thirties why would this OG give so much? There is only one word love.
Thousands unite to fight crime.
Thousands gather at Jack Farrell Park.
AIGA1 in action.
AIGA1 in the house.
Faith Based support.
We are in it together.
The Marchers in full force.
The motorcycle team.
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