More than 130 people marched through downtown Lexington Saturday in a symbolic gesture of solidarity with displaced people around the world.
In late September, Pope Francis kicked off a “Share the Journey” campaign to express support for the 65 million migrants and refugees who are on the move, the biggest number of displaced persons since World War II.
Many of those people are on the move “not because they want to be but because circumstances require that of them,” said Bishop John Stowe of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington.
The participants gathered at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, then made stops at Phoenix Park, the Carnegie Center and the old Fayette County Courthouse before concluding the walk at St. Paul Catholic Church on Short Street.
The participants included people from several Latin American countries, the Philippines and India. Congolese singers provided music along the march route and on the steps of St. Paul.
The march had been scheduled before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Friday visit to Mexico. Pompeo discussed with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray how to stop the flow of Central American migrants into the United States. The issue has been highlighted by a caravan of Honduran migrants traveling though Guatemala to the United States.
Meanwhile, an estimated 245 children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border remain in federal custody nearly four months after a judge ordered them reunited, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Stowe referred to the children in his remarks on the courthouse plaza.
“We don’t want to be known as a nation that locks up children, that loses vulnerable children in a broken system, where it allows children to be warehoused and penned in like livestock behind chain-link fences,” Stowe said. “It is in solidarity with those children and those families that we walk today.”
Stan “JR” Zerkowski, an organizer of Saturday’s march, said he was pleased with the turnout.
“I hope we have a community-wide discussion about our sisters and brothers who are suffering and who we can help,” Zerkowksi said. “We can recognize every person’s dignity, their worth. They’re part of our family, one blood, we’re one blood.”