Prepared by FFWPU USA
The Peace Road team has been extremely busy on the Peace Road 2020: Reconciling All People national tour—traveling through seven states in less than a week! From the East Coast to the Deep South, their schedule has been jam-packed August 1 to 5 as they join local clergy and public officials bringing prayers of peace and reconciliation to numerous historical sites.
Here is a recap of what’s been happening:
The team went to Belvedere Estate in Tarrytown, New York, on August 1 where Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) co-founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately known as True Parents, have given numerous speeches over several decades. Peace Road was launched in 2015 by Dr. Moon, the Mother of Peace, honoring her late husband’s peace-building legacy through a global movement bringing together people of all backgrounds as they walk, bike, and drive in solidarity for peace.
Let Freedom Ring
While each location on the Peace Road tour has historical significance, in New Jersey there is the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where the team convened nearby on August 2. “The Statue of Liberty is one of the greatest things America has to offer as a symbol of freedom and enlightenment,” said Pastor Naokimi Ushiroda, assistant pastor of Clifton Family Church. “It’s not just freedom for a certain kind of people, but all people.”
About 12 million people came through Ellis Island over the course of 60 years, and today, their descendants comprise more than a third of the American population. “All of those people came to America with this hope of experiencing new freedoms centering on God,” said Pastor Naokimi. “I hope this place can remind all of us of the vision of America, with freedom and unity beyond races, borders, and cultures.”
City of Brotherly Love
The team then traveled to Philadelphia—the city of Brotherly Love—visiting the iconic Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution was debated and adopted.
“The message of this Liberty Bell is that although we are cracked, we are still united; we are not broken apart, we are not torn apart,” said Dr. Luonne Rouse, national co-chairman of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC). “And even though America may think of itself as cracked on the issue of who is free and who is not free, the real message of America is that ‘united we stand.’ It is a bell of love; a love for all of God’s children.”
The group also went to Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was founded in 1794 and is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal congregation in the U.S., as well as the Germantown Mennonite town hall where the Quakers stood against slavery.
The First State
Peace Road continued into Wilmington, Delaware, known as ‘The First State’ that ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1787. The Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park features two statues of Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett, dedicated agents of the Underground Railroad, and where the Peace Road team honored both abolitionists.
“Along the way, God has raised sons and daughters to be the light and to really bring the truth that we are all one family under God,” said FFWPU-USA New England District Pastor Mika Deshotel. “Peace has to start within each of us in order for it to come about in this world. This is a 400-year providence and we are rededicating America back to God. We are recognizing those peacemakers of the past and present, including Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett.”
The U.S. Capital
Centrally located, the Peace Road team visited the Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial on August 3, where they prayed and shared messages of hope and inspiration.
“We want to repent and forgive to heal ourselves and this nation,” said Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) USA President Angelika Selle in front of the Lincoln Memorial. “As Mother Moon has said many times, history is calling for reconciliation, compassion, service, love, and sacrifice. Our problems cannot be solved by the logic of power, but by the logic of love. We must work together to create a new paradigm, a new America, that raises up each other as one family under God.”
The Deep South
Heading into the Deep South on August 4, the Peace Road team traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, where they somberly gathered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for a special prayer walk. Tragedy struck there in 2015 when a mass shooting killed nine African-Americans during Bible study. Founded 203 years ago, the group prayed from the church grounds, to the site of a future African-American museum honoring African ancestors, and concluded at the Port of Charleston where 100,000 enslaved people were brought to America.
“Charleston represents people going through and overcoming unthinkable things,” said Dr. Rouse. “Through what True Parents have been teaching and modeling, we can become the generation of reconciliation and peace. And I believe because of this young generation going across America today on Peace Road, it is happening and will come to fruition; and it will be that America leads the way as the hope for God in being the nation of reconciliation for all people.”
‘I Have A Dream’
Wrapping up this leg of the tour on August 5, the Peace Road team journeyed to Atlanta, the Georgia state capital and birthplace of renowned Civil Rights Movement leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who gave his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963. The group visited the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, a non-profit organization established by Coretta Scott King in 1968 after the assassination of her husband, which advocates Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy to create a peaceful world. A message of peace and reconciliation was also held at Liberty Plaza, a significant public gathering space outside the State Capitol Building.
“We are all here on Peace Road in the name of peace and want to promote peace through these rocky times,” said Georgia State Senator Donzella James. “We know God has been working on America to reconcile all people. And we know that while we have come a long way, racism is still very much a real issue today. But through prayer, forgiveness, and love, and serving one another, we can overcome these issues to be united as one.”