On April 6 House of Manna Urban Faith Community and the Homewood Renaissance Association gathered hundreds of people in front of Westinghouse High School to march through Homewood-Brushton to the corner of Frankstown and North Homewood Avenues. The purpose of the march was to spread hope in the community.

LIFT UP—Youth lead hundreds through the streets of Homewood for the 3rd Annual Prayer 4 Peace March, April 6. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

“Certainly anything that promotes peace in the inner city is a good thing, given that you had both political and religious leaders and also residents working together to show a unified front around peace,” said Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, who represents Homewood. “I think it also gave hope to the residents that although the violence has decreased, we can do better. We’re looking forward to new development in Homewood’s future.”

The theme of the march, which began at 10 a.m., was Homewood’s renaissance and focused on the love God has for Homewood. This mile-long Prayer 4 Peace March was led by Homewood’s elders and young people, the Pittsburgh Police, followed by the businesses, organizations and partners. The purpose of the order was fully selected to symbolize the future of law enforcement and the community together toward the renaissance.

“As we begin to explore and develop Homewood’s new identity of a family-centered, business-oriented community that nurtures the vast array of talent and ambitions in our youths and young adults,” said Rev. Eugene “Freedom” Blackwell, House of Manna. “For this purpose, a vital partnership has been formed between House of Manna, the URA, Dollar Bank, Fisher Architecture, Northway Christian Community, Berlin International Group and Homewood Renaissance Association. Together they have begun the process of redevelopment with the donation of property beginning at 7260 Franks­town Ave., two lots and a 12,000 sq. ft. building.”

About 500 participants attended last year’s march. Among those scheduled to participate and speak this year were Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, state Rep. Joseph Preston Jr., Senator Jim Ferlo, Executive Presbyter Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, Black Political Empowerment Project Founder Tim Stevens, Urban League of Pittsburgh President and CEO Esther L. Bush, Community Empowerment Association Executive Director T. Rashad Byrdsong, entrepreneur Chuck Sanders and Minister Jasiri X. Local radio station WAMO and local artists also performed.

The march was held on Good Friday to commemorate one of the most holy days on the global Christian calendar. The goal was to create a unique manifestation of God’s presence knowing that individual prayer is powerful but when a community comes together they can move mountains.

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