Prayer drums lead marchers down Main Street
Peace marchers bring message to city today

Independence Daily Reporter

Independence, Kansas

Thursday, April 6, 1995

[photo, not shown here, captioned:]

WALKING FOR PEACE David Williams, left with small drum, and the Rev. Yusen Yamato, right with large drum, both of California, lead marchers down Main Street this morning. Williams and Yamato are coordinators of a March for Global Peace, which started in New York and ends in California in June. The marchers hope to spread the message of the need for peace and a return to nature. (Photo by Julia Clarke)

Peace marchers bring message to city today

By Terri Schrader
Staff Writer

Chanting and drum beats echoed down Main Street this morning, as about two dozen members of Global Peace Walk '95 proclaimed their message to Independence.

"We are wanting to draw attention to the need for world peace," said David Williams, coordinator of the group. "We want people from all over the world to order the United Nations for global peace. There are wars going on in 40 countries right now, and they are fighting for land and life. We want to stop the fighting."

The group made an overnight stop on their march for peace Wednesday at Grace Memorial United Methodist Church in preparation for this morning's walk through Independence. After the group walked down from Main Street, members headed to Tusla, Oklahoma, where they will stay at the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church.

The group began the walk on January 15 in New York City and plans to arrive to San Francisco by June 20 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the United Nations, where they will present a collection of letters of support.

The group travels about 30-50 miles a day, according to Williams. Members take turns walking stretches of pavement and carrying a banner that says, "Global Peace Now." Those not walking, ride in one of the group's six vehicles. Members are from all across the country and Germany.

"I am walking for many reasons," said Fermin Ferrer, member of the group from northern California. "I am walking for environmental reasons, respect and for the simple things of life."

Ferrer said he believes a lot of people are "being reached" through the walk.

"What's going on is there is fighting all over the world for land and life," said Rev. Yusen Yamato, a Buddhist monk from San Francisco. "Nobody really knows why they are fighting. We need to pray for global peace now. This is very important.

"Future generations are the ones who will have to fix everything and we must start now, to bring attention to this important need."

Williams said the group came to Kansas to hold a three-day fast for Leonard Peltier, a Native American imprisoned at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Peace walk members believe Peltier was wrongly accused of the murders of two FBI agents in 1975. They camped near the prison for six days and prayed.

People are being wrongly accused and the fighting needs to stop," Williams said. The group attempted to obtain a letter of support for the Global Peace Walk from Mayor G. Burks Sherwood, but was unsuccessful because there was not enough time to gain city commission approval.

Williams said he hoped the commission would approve the request and mail the letter to him in San Francisco.

"Our funding for this walk mainly comes from public donations and church offerings," Williams said. "We don't have anyone financially backing us on this. We have friends in different parts of the country who hold benefit concerts and fund-raisers for our mission."

When the group leaves Tulsa after a couple of days, they will head to Oklahoma City, then on to Santa Fe and Albuquerque N.M., Flagstaff, Ariz., San Jose, Calif., and San Francisco.

"When our walk is complete, we will continue to carry our message of peace and pray for the world and our children," Williams said.