Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
Most people think the bright colors of fall are all about the leaves. The Heartbeat of Haverhill knows better. THOH joined in the celebration of Haverhill’s Community March for Peace. The event was coordinated by the student driven Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) team from Haverhill Public Schools, Mt Washington Alliance, Urban Kindness and a host of other groups and faith based organizations.
Perfect weather, joyful hearts and strong commitments combined to make Haverhill’s Community Walk for Peace through the Mount Washington Neighborhood a brightly colored success. Over 250 people walked from Haverhill’s Consentino Middle School to Tilton Elementary. The addition of powdered paints attaching to shirts and shoes and hair and skin made participants brighter than any leaf could hope to be.
The message was clear….
Participants want peace, freedom from bullying, positive relationships with neighbors, and they are are willing to work, walk, and color for that cause.
At the end of the walk was a well earned celebration…more colors on pumpkins and coloring pages and face painting. Tables offered information on voting and other resources. There was more movement – dancing to DJ Jeff Masters and Nick and zumba. Hula hoops and playground activities, games and raffles fueled by apples and popcorn and beverages. And a chance to hang out with neighbors from across the city.
As the celebration edged toward its conclusion, exceptionally poised and articulate students ranging from first grade to middle school made impassioned speeches about what peace means to them. THOH was so impressed by the messages of hope and appreciation.
Out of sheer curiosity, The Heartbeat of Haverhill chased down a few people carrying butternut squash and learned a new slogan…. “Squash the Beef”… this reminds students and adults alike to stop a problem before it escalates. Or as my mother always said and some of the older participants may have learned about unacceptable behavior- “Nip it in the bud”.
Haverhill’s Community Peace Walk was a day of steps toward increasing positivity, hope, determination and peace. Nicely done, everybody!