WEST HAVEN, CONN. - "During a time when fear of Islam misguides our citizens toward mistrust, hatred, and harm, act before something awful takes place." On October 24, three hundred participants heard that message from Bruce Barrett introducing the first I Wage Peace Walk.
Walking together by the West Haven, Conn. shoreline attracted Christians, Jews and Muslims. Sandwich boards along the path displayed sage advice from the three faiths along with photos and statements of peacemakers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Also displayed were stills from the award-winning documentary, "The Billboard From Bethlehem," produced by Barrett in 2007.
The video documents the experiences of Combatants for Peace, "a group of Israeli and Palestinian fighters, who after seeing each other only through the sights of guns, decided to lay down their weapons and fight for peace and justice for both societies using non-violent means." The documentary also shows the painting of a giant billboard on the West Bank by Israeli and Palestinian children.
At the furthest point of the walk is a garden site honoring veterans. There, after the approximately hour-long walk, the band "The Afro-Semitic Experience" played dance-to music. Following were brief talks from religious leaders. The theme echoed that no one religion has all the answers nor is responsible for all the violence in the world. Profits from the I Wage Peace Walk were slated to be donated to Combatants for Peace.
Photo: I Wage Peace Walk introduces new friends along the West Haven, Conn. beach.