As we gather at Romo Park for the 30th Annual Peace and Unity March, we are reminded that we are not fighting against hate, but rather, against fear. Deep-rooted fears that have manifested in our communities and perpetuated violence over the last three decades. In Watsonville, dozens of residents have tragically lost their lives to violence, and the scars of these losses still haunt us. This is a crisis we cannot afford to ignore, and it is our collective responsibility to address it with unwavering commitment and determination.
We are marching today, as we have since 1994, not simply to denounce the violence that has plagued our neighborhoods but to send a united, positive message to every home and every corner of our community. Enough is enough – we demand peace and unity. The journey towards peace and unity is arduous, but it is essential. This march is more than just an annual event; it is a call to action, a call to courage, and a call to unity.
Reflecting on our history, we find wisdom and inspiration from the nonviolent revolutionary struggles of the past. Movements like the War Resisters League, the Quakers, and the Anti-World War II nonviolent movement remind us of the transformative power of nonviolent action. The path to peace-making is an act of spiritual courage, rooted in our shared humanity.
Violence begets violence, and it is imperative that we tackle the root causes of the fear and trauma that continue to plague our communities. These fears are not abstract; they are internalized, and they manifest as the violence we seek to eradicate. It is time for a change in the systems that perpetuate fear and prevent human connection. The impact of racialized trauma and the triggers that are embedded within us need to be addressed as part of our healing process.
We must recognize that we are sentient beings capable of empathy, connection, and transformation. Violence and oppression do not exist in isolation; they are woven into the fabric of our society. The oppressors are not distant figures; they are the individuals we interact with every day, and the change we seek starts within ourselves.
To underscore the urgency of our mission, we must look at the data. NeighborhoodScout reports that Watsonville has a crime rate higher than 80% of California communities. These statistics are not just numbers; they represent lives affected by violence, families torn apart, and a community suffering.
As we march together for peace and unity, we reiterate our commitment to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the Beloved Community. In this vision, we find the path forward, where the principles of nonviolence guide our actions, where courage prevails over fear, and where unity triumphs over division.
Today, we march as a community determined to make a difference for our future. We stand against violence, and we stand together for peace. It is our collective resolve that will bring about the change we desperately need. The time for action is now, and together, we can create a more peaceful, united, and compassionate community.
In unity and with unwavering hope,
Resource Center for Nonviolence