The age-old story of Mary and Joseph looking for a room in Bethlehem was used to highlight the issues of homelessness, inadequate housing and immigration in Lexington on Tuesday night.
The Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice sponsored the "Looking for Home Procession," which stopped at several downtown locations, led by a girl representing Mary riding a pony and a boy representing Joseph walking alongside.
Rebecca Gladding, whose children Maggie, 9, and Seth, 8, played Mary and Joseph, said she often talks with them about homelessness and immigration.
"It's a real hands-on way to join in drawing attention to that," she said.
The event was styled after a Latin American posada, in which actors representing Mary and Joseph go from house to house, singing a song and asking for shelter. In a traditional posada, those inside each home would sing back in response.
The crowd of walkers participating in Tuesday's procession sang in English and Spanish. They began at the McDonald's on Winchester Road near downtown, where they read a statement about raising the minimum wage to allow people to better afford adequate housing.
Other stops included the Herald-Leader building, where the walkers celebrated the newspaper's recent series on homelessness; the Government Center on Main Street, where they urged city leaders to set up an affordable housing trust fund; the circuit courthouse, where they addressed the restoration of voting rights for felons; and U.S. District Court, where they read a statement on immigration reform.
"I grew up with this song we're doing," said John Wright Rios, whose mother is from Mexico. "It means a lot now to sing it in English as well, and to sing it with focus on the immigration issue. ... So many peace and justice issues find meaning in the story."