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“Light The Night 315” Marching for Restoration and Unity

“Light the Night 315” is focused and committed to the wellness of the community

Embracing elements of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “beloved community”

We’ve had a rash of injury and death cause by gun violence, within a short period of time 11 people were shot, one dead.

Victoria Coit, a Syracuse resident and activist began to organize people into taking action along with Desiree Odom, Healing Activist; Rashawn Sullivan, Motivational Speaker & Community Activist and Vanessa Renee, Photo Activist.

According to Coit,”Light the Night 315 is focused and committed to the wellness of the community, though we began the marches off of the heel of one of the most violent weekends in my lifetime anti-violence was not the focus. We wanted to focus on what we did want in our commUNITY as a whole and that was peace, unity and restoration.

We wanted to focus on what we did want in our commUNITY as a whole and that was peace, unity and restoration. We believe that when these key points are achieved it will begin to eradicate the violence.”

“Light The Night 315” Marching for Restoration and Unity - Be Transformed
“Light The Night 315” Marching for Restoration and Unity – Be Transformed

The result has been a series of marches, kinetic energy, bubbling up from the grass-roots community.

There’s a feeling that it’s different this time. The issue blazed through social media Like a California drought fed wildfire, people started to communicate the need to do, “something”.

During their first march, Monday July 7th a contingent of elected leaders including the Mayor, Stephanie A. Miner; Police Chief Frank Fowler, city and county legislative members joined concerned neighbors marched to make people aware of what’s happening in our streets. Signs reading, “Be the change”, “Syracuse Matters”, “Black Lives Matter”, were among many placards denouncing the dramatic rise in violence in our community.

Gun violence is taking too many lives, and there are now vigorous community-based efforts encouraging people to focus on this issue as we cope with increasing death and injury.  Light the Night 315 hopes to counter the negativity with a message of peace, unity and restoration.

On Monday July 13th the streets were filled with people again, bringing attention to the cause of stopping gun violence, this scourge that has taken so many lives. The march again organized by, “Light The Night 315” March for Restoration and Unity.  Another neighborhood, another community the Lexington Avenue area, calls for personal commitment, as a sign said, “Be the change.”

"Light The Night" first march
“Light The Night” first march

Stop and review, what I call the “how to primer” starting point for protests, which are Dr. Martin Luther King’s Principles of Non-Violence.

While these were marches are occurring in a different time and place they’re are in line with Dr. Martin Luther King Institute’s “Six Steps of Nonviolence” in which there are outlined principles designed to tear down barriers. Can these steps be applied to current conditions? Yes, they can and they are. These six principles are as follows: Information gathering, educating people about the issues, personal commitment, negotiation, direct action and reconciliation.

As Dr. King stated about the beloved community,” But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. The type of love that I stress here is not eros, a sort of esthetic or romantic love; not philia, a sort of reciprocal love between personal friends; but it is agape which is understanding goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. It is the love of God working in the lives of men. This is the love that may well be the salvation of our civilization.”

Light The Night 315 March for Restoration and Unity movement’s educating people through their marches. They aren’t placing blame, personalizing or politicizing the issue of gun violence. They’re bringing it to our attention, and asking us what are we going to do about it? What do we want in our commUNITY?

Even before their second march, Light The Night 315 made it clear that they want to bring about substantive change in Syracuse. These marches are about the community as they’ve stated,” Restoration and Unity”, and that takes time and commitment.  These, Light The Night 315 March for Restoration and Unity direct-actions are nothing like the “micro-wave” protests Syracuse had during the 1980’s, where we’d walk in circles for an hour, go home in time to watch, Cosby.

Photos by  City Hall Photographer, Joel Rinne. (Click on image to enlarge)

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