Making strides toward peace – Walkers hope to help elevate consciousness

Posted on July 17, 2009. Filed under: 0. Peace | Tags: , , , , |

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Making strides toward peace
(Cited from El Defensor Chieftain at: )
Walkers hope to help elevate consciousness

Nat Holland El Defensor Chieftain Reporter

A desire for world peace instead of a world blown to pieces is the motivation for a diverse group of individuals participating in a peace walk that passed through Socorro on Monday, July 13.

The Trinity to Trident Interfaith Peace Walk is a multi-stage peace walk that started at Los Alamos on July 5, and will eventually end near the Bangor Naval Base in Washington State.

“It’s a trip to be out there on the road — one step after another,” said 70-year-old Arizona native Iris Wolfe.

The New Mexico stage of the walk culminates with a 26-hour prayer vigil for peace at the edge of the White Sands Missile Range, near the Trinity Site where the first atomic bomb was detonated.

“Every hour we will pray the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament,” said Telesflora Rios, a local volunteer who provided dinner for the walkers when they stopped in Socorro.

Father Charles McCarthy, of Boston, and Sister Patricia McCarthy, a sister of Notre Dame, will be two of the catholic clergy participating in the vigil.

Stop in Socorro

“One reason to stop here (in Socorro) is New Mexico Tech was one of the schools to experiment with enriched uranium in the 1970s,” said Marcus Page, part of the Catholic Worker Movement. “I don’t know what’s currently going on (at Tech), but this commemorates historical events.”

The group also planned to visit the Jumbo fragment on display in Socorro’s Historic Plaza.

The movement started in 1933, primarily to provide services to the poor and struggling in the Depression Era, Page said. The second World War, with its devastation and loss of life, pushed the organization into a different direction and it became more known for its pacifistic stance.

Prayer for Peace

“We walk and pray for world peace — this particular walk is to abolish nuclear weapons,” said Gilbert Perez, a Buddhist monk who was born in Cuba and raised in New York City. “We pray for the down-winders who were affected in this area and soldiers coming back from Iraq.”

“Life is most important. We can live together peacefully,” said Senji Kanaeda, a Japanese Buddhist Monk, who has lived in Seattle for about six years. “We wish that it (nuclear attacks) would never happen again — that is why we walk.”

Erica Freeman, who moved recently moved to Bainbridge Island, Wash., met Senji two weeks after her move, and was convinced to join him on the peace walk.

“This is my first peace walk, but by no means is this the first time in my life I have felt passionate about it,” said Freeman, who volunteers for two non-profits in the Seattle area.

Impact on Japan

“Before World War II, Japan was a very militaristic country. After the war we knew what could happen and wanted it to never happen again,” said Senji.

“The Japanese people should walk on the front line of any action or movement or prayer for abolition of any nuclear weapons or energy on the earth,” said Senji, attributing the comment to an American friend, who is now a director at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in Japan.

Japanese people also seem to be more aware of the impact of nuclear weapons than other countries, said Senji, due to direct experience, photographs, TV shows and education programs.

“We are afraid of that happening again and we think about it — not just the atomic bomb,” said Hiro Takahashi, a 20-year-old from Japan.

Concern for Consequence

Dennis Duvall, an Arizona native associated with Prescott Peace Action, is just along for the New Mexico segment of the walk.

“I got involved because I was anti-nuclear. I was working against nuclear power back in the ’70s,” said Duvall. “We joined this walk because we are very mindful of the threat to the earth and all life from these vast nuclear arsenals. So we’re walking to abolish nuclear weapons and stop the nuclear fuel cycle from the building of another generation of power plants.”

“I’m a retired social worker and psychotherapist so my interest is more personal with what is for me a heartbreaking reality that we tend to be hell-bent for our own destruction and the destruction of those around us,” said Wolfe, who is also associated with Prescott Peace Action. “We would like to think that we can fix whatever we do and that may not be possible. This is a hard reality to face.”

For more information or to follow the peace walk visit the group’s blog site at

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