On Sunday, January 21, I Rise, Toledo and the YWCA will host Toledo’s second annual Unity March, beginning at the Toledo Loves Love wall at 1209 Adams St. east on Adams St and ending at Trinity Episcopal, at 316 Adams St.
We’re in this together
Lisa McDuffie, president, and CEO of the YWCA Northwest Ohio, wasn’t sure if this march was going to be an annual thing while planning for last year’s event. With a list of goals they wanted to accomplish and a solid idea, and seeing how “nasty things were becoming,” how neighbors fought in the current world climate, the push for unity was more important than ever.
Creating a long-lasting, nonpartisan and all-encompassing partnership within the community to represent and fight for the vulnerable was the overriding goal. To connect people and allow them to gather for support or to quickly mobilize to get face to face with those “oppressing marginalized groups of people.” McDuffie encouraged, “we are better than this.”
Through connecting grassroots advocacy and individual actions, the YWCA hoped to unite the community.
Up to 700 marchers
To bring the community together in a show of peaceful force and to bind people together in unity, I Rise, Toledo estimated 400-700 people were in attendance last year. From high school student volunteers to do-it-yourselfers with handmade signs, the crowd was full of “Toledo Love.” A local man provided brightly colored printed signs to everyone, to show his support. Everything went beautifully. The march communicated powerful ideas, to promote humankind and to treat each other fairly and justly.
Although the march was originally not planned as an annual event, McDuffie fielded multiple inquiries from interested parties wanting to move forward with a 2018 march, commenting that the “tone (of the country) made it necessary” to repeat the effort.
Ten minutes to unite
With the concept of uniting the community, the YWCA is helping local grassroots advocates. “We’re in this together,” says McDuffie. “We need to coordinate as one— something that isn’t happening as well as it should.”
The gathering at Trinity Church after the march is meant to help mend any disconnect between local advocacy groups. There will be speakers, snacks, and most importantly, resource networking opportunities. This peaceful event will, hopefully, find a way to bring heads together to work as one to benefit the most vulnerable in our community.