January 15, 2011, A.A.C. took to the streets of downtown Augusta to participate in the Augusta chapter of the NAACP MLK Parade. This year’s theme was “Stop the Killing.” Recently, there have been a slew of tragic murders in Augusta, and the local chapter of the NAACP thought it was wise to use this parade to promote the message of peace in their community.

A.A.C.’s trip to Augusta was coordinated by the “Amazing” Ayman Fadel of the CSRA Peace Alliance. During our trip we ran into David Matos and Matt Smith who helped out with the parade activities. The parade was filled with bands from local high schools, groups of dancers, churches, car clubs, and local businesses who joined us to share in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Most of the parade led us down two-lane streets, and as we passed the spectators we handed out boxes of raisins attached to small handbills with the message “Raisin’ our voices for peace and justice!”

As we marched we chanted, “We got that PEACE! (Pause) We got that JUSTICE!” Lots of spectators joined in, and the call for peace and justice was as tangible as the chilly winter air. At one point on the parade route, we even got a few of the sheriff’s deputies involved in the chant, which was a huge triumph for the day considering the stoic image the law enforcement officers were trying to maintain.

Our mission for the day was spreading the message of peace and justice and reinvigorating our world with the drive and inspiration to create the better world that Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed about and worked to create. We are the peace, we are the justice, we are the hands and hearts that will make a difference.