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March for peace planned for 63rd Street

The International Human Relations Council plans to hold a March for Peace at 9 a.m. Friday, March 20, along 63rd Street in Chicago Lawn.

Plans for the march were discussed during a Tuesday meeting at IHRC headquarters, 3302 W. 63rd St.

Asked if any specific event sparked the idea for the march, IHRC President Fatima Abu Eid said no. ÒThere are a lot of things going on. Just turn on the TV and it makes your head spin,” she said.

Abu Eid founded the International Human Relations Council following 9/11 to bring together people from various ethnic and religious backgrounds that make up Chicago Lawn and the Southwest Side.{{more}}

There had been some anti-Arab hate crimes against local Arabs in the area following 9/11, and the initial goal of the IHRC was to put an end to hate crimes of all kinds.

In recent years, there have been no reported hate crimes in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District, so the group is focusing on putting an end to violent crime, which is prevalent.

ÒNo one is going to give us peace. We have to pray for it, and get it ourselves,” she added

There was some debate about how long the march should be. IHRC member Anam Eljabali suggested starting as far east as California or Fairfield Avenue, in front of St. Rita Church. But with the end point being the Chicago Lawn (8th) District police station at 3420 W. 63rd St., Abu Eid thought that might be too far for older participants to walk.

Most people will probably join the march at Kedzie or Spaulding, in front of the offices of IHRC and Sanad, and head west along the sidewalk to the police station.

ÒWe will go those few blocks this year, and maybe extend it next year,” said Abu Eid.

Rather than holding signs or flags, she said marchers will sing and hold burning incense sticks as a symbol of peace.

ÒOur voices will be heard,” said Abu Eid. ÒThat is the important thing.”

ÒAs long as the message is heard,” agreed Francoise Johnson, a resident who plans to participate.

In other business, members of IHRC also discussed plans for the group’s annual Unity Fair. The event, when school supplies are given out to local children, is usually held the second weekend after Labor Day, but Ted Lally of Holy Cross Hospital floated the idea of either combining it with a a new community event, called Convoy of Hope, which is being held Aug. 22 at Marquette Park. That event will include health screenings, family photos and other attractions.

He said health screening could also be offered later in September at the Unity Day.

Members plan to gather more details about the various possibilities and make a final decision at the next IHRC meeting set for April 14 at Holy Cross Hospital, 2701 W. 68th St.

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