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Peace walk in Kenosha calls for social justice, change
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Peace walk in Kenosha calls for social justice, change

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A Peace Walk for Justice brought a message of social justice and a call for change to the Brass and Uptown neighborhoods Saturday afternoon.

The event was sponsored by organized by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall masonic fraternity and the Unity Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star.

Songs of the civil rights era rang out from a speaker as a group of about 20 people marched from the TCF Bank parking lot in the Brass neighborhood through the heart of Uptown, an area hard hit by the civil unrest that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer.

Anthony McGaughy Sr., Most Worshipful Grand Master for fraternity, said the event’s goal was to help raise awareness of the systematic oppression of black people, police brutality, racism and economic disparities.

“We ask every citizen to be peaceful and help raise our communities to a place where society does not judge a person by their outward appearance, but by the content of their character,” McGaughy said.

They have held similar peace walks in Madison, Milwaukee and Beloit and plan to continue their efforts in Racine.

“We are trying to show people you can march peacefully, without all the violence, and still tackle all of the issues that are going on in the community related to racial injustice and police brutality,” McGaughy said. “With all that has been going on here, we thought it fitting to come to Kenosha.”

Those who are part of the Order, donning full regalia, were joined by local residents, members of the local church community and alderman Jan Michalski. They were led by a member carrying the red, black and green Pan-African flag created in 1920 to represent people of the African Diaspora and which has come to symbolize Black liberation in the United States.

“This is our first march,” said Nancy Neumann, a local resident. “We came to show our support for what they are doing.”

“There is systematic racism in this country, in this city, and in this state,” Joe Neumann, Nancy’s husband, added. “We support their effort to speak up and do what they can do.”

The march, which started with a prayer circle, ended at Streeter Park, where members of the Order and others, including Anthony Davis, president of Kenosha NAACP, and minister Anthony Powell, of Empowering Faith Fellowship Church, spoke to the group.

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“This community belongs to all of us,” Powell, who has lived in Kenosha since 1970, said. “The only way we can move forward is together. It’s not about black or white. It’s about people coming together for peace.”

Kathleen A Crape, Grand Worthy Matron Order of the Eastern Star, called for further action.

“As we move forward to the November election, our hearts and minds are on change,” Crape said. “And the only way to bring change is to vote.”

She said without action at the polls, this peace walk and other marches held throughout the summer will have been held in vain.

“Our ancestors fought and died for equality and justice for all people,” Crape said. “I do not expect my 12-year-old granddaughter to have to face the same issues we face today.”

We walk against police brutality, equal opportunities for mortgages, employment and promotions, and fair wages.”

She said she never wants to live in a place where there are no laws.

“So, yes we need the police,” Crape said. “But we know that the misuse of power in most police departments has gone on for much too long.”

She said the Black community is no longer asking to be treated fairly because “it is not an option.”

“Many people say Black lives don’t matter,” Crape said. “Well, I say check your history and see what we as a people have contributed to America. All lives matter.”

The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Wisconsin, Inc. was established in 1925. Unity Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star of Wisconsin was established in 1955.

The African American masonic fraternity was established by Prince Hall in 1787. Its mission is “to promote a way of life that binds like-minded men and women in a worldwide union that transcends all religious, ethnic, cultural, social and educational differences; by teaching the great principles of fraternal love, relief and truth; and, by the outward expression of these, through its fellowship, to find ways in which to serve God, family, country, neighbors, and self.”

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