Interfaith Walk for Peace and Justice held in Ames

A marcher holding a sign saying, “Different religion, same family”.

Jill Alt

More 50 Ames residents gathered Sunday at Brookside Park for the first ever Interfaith Walk for Peace and Justice in Ames. 

This walk was put together by Terry Lowman, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames and a representative of the board of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. 

Lowman talked about a belief that the change in administration in the United States has had a negative impact on the nation, saying the event was a call to action.

“Since we’ve changed administrations we’ve had a lot of persecution and bigotry, and the hate crimes in our country have exploded,” Lowman said. “We need to stand up and say ‘no.'” 

The event was based off a walk held in Columbus, Ohio last year which has led to a nationwide movement. It was the only march happening in Iowa according to Lowman, however there are many being held all over the nation from locations like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Niskayuna, New York and even out of the nation with walks being held in Ontario, Canada. 

The participants today walked all the way from Brookside Park to Bandshell Park via Main Street. A wide variety of ages and faiths were represented amongst those who chose to walk today. 

Two high school students from St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church decided to walk today because their small group was asked to make signs for the walkers. 

“At first we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into,” said Isabel Polashek, a senior at Ames High School. “But things like unity and ‘love not hate’ are so important, especially with the culture we’re in. Yes, I may be religious and you may not be, but we can have a community regardless.” 

Emma Aitchison, junior at Ames High School, talked about how she believed that as younger people it is important for them to partake in events like these. 

“I feel likes its important for people to see young people excited about this,” Aitchison said. 

People from a variety of religions came as well. Rev. Cephas Davis, associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Downtown Ames was one of the participants, and he talked about how his beliefs coincide with the march.

“I think its important because as a Christian minister I believe that’s what god called us to do,” Rev. Davis said. “By coming together, people from different faiths give the lord a voice”

John Pleasant talked about his beliefs as well at the event, citing the Torah as well as pulling from personal feelings. 

On May 1, Pleasant’s father would be turning 100 years old had he not passed, and Pleasant talked about how he wanted to honor his father who walked in many marches, including the march in Washington D.C. to protest Vietnam. 

“I used to walk with my father when I was a kid,” Pleasant said. “This is what I will do to think of him.”

The event concluded at 4:00 p.m. at Bandshell Park.