First Friday Walks for Justice in Wilmington, Delaware.
A reflection by Mary Lou Edgar for March 21, 2023.
Shortly after I joined SsAM, I learned about the walks on the first Friday of every month. I remember reading that it was started to make people aware of the injustice of killing George Floyd as well as all other injustices perpetuated against indigenous people and people of color, particularly Black people.
I had been astounded when George Floyd was killed. I remembered marching during the Civil Rights movement and wondering what happened. I knew I had to do something to speak to how unjust our country continues to be. Although I had other long-term commitments on the first Friday of the month, I wanted to participate in the walk at SsAM. I would need to make some major changes.
I decided to pray about this rather than think about it. I tend to think when I’m not sure what to do. Often, I think until I’m ready to give up. Then I give up. Praying, on the other hand, especially silently, gets me to the beginning of a path forward. I thought about being a member of one of the few remaining support groups that had started with Sue Linderman’s six week class on the Black history. I had learned so much. I kept feeling a nudge which led me to make the decision to begin walking. It was the right thing to do.
At SsAM we walk with several other churches in the community. We all share the same concerns about not being able to achieve peace without justice. We meet in the SsAM parking lot at 5:30 and we begin with prayer. We then walk down to 6th Street and up Market Street until we get to Rodney Square. We walk silently carrying electric candles. We also carry posters such as those stating that Black Lives Matter. It is not a long walk, but it is a moving one. We encounter people who thank us for being there for them. We hear people clapping for us. But we also hear silence. People who are joining us in our silent prayer, asking God to help us find peace for all His family on this earth.
In April our walk is on Good Friday.
In the beginning, there was discussion of not walking on Good Friday. But then we all began to see the special importance of it. Why wouldn’t we walk? We will walk on the day we commemorate Jesus’s walk to His crucifixion and His death. It will not matter to us if it is raining or if the sun is shining. We will still walk.
All the other walks/marches I participated in (and there were many) were more to follow what others thought. They are still important in my life because I learned from them. I began to see injustice everywhere. But now I walk because I believe the Holy Spirit is with me and with the group of us going forward. On Good Friday, I will think of Jesus and how He must have felt scared, betrayed by those who said they believed in Him, and alone. When I am walking, I will remember how He asked to have this taken from him but only if it was His Father’s will. I will remember how He died for me and for each of us.
It is a blessing that we can walk on Good Friday and feel that bond. This monthly walk is so important. I know the time is not always convenient for everyone, but I can assure you, we all learn something from every silent walk we do. That silence allows us to look deeply in ourselves while also seeing our brothers and sisters along the way. It is about loving – loving ourselves and loving each other.
I have been asking everyone I see to walk with us.
I hope after reading this, you will think about it and decide to join us as well. If you can’t walk, say a prayer for us and be with us in spirit. It will add another dimension to the holiest week of the year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, is a clinical social worker who founded A Better Chance for Our Children, an adoption and foster care agency that works to find permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Mary Lou was the Executive Director of ABCFOC, but she is now retired. She graduated from Neumann University and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She and her husband joined SsAM in 2021.
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