LA to the Bering Strait
Photo credit FFWPU-USA
It’s been a long road for the Peace Riders—a diverse team of young Unificationists who traveled America from coast to coast over the past month on the Peace Road 2020: Reconciling All People national tour. The group wrapped up their whirlwind 6,500-mile journey on August 21 in Anchorage, Alaska, after weeks of joining local peacemakers, clergy, and public figures in 30 cities to pray and share messages of peace and reconciliation at numerous historical sites.
Here is a recap of the final week of the tour:
City of Angels
The Peace Riders visited the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles on August 15, as well the Korean Friendship Bell, a massive bronze bell housed in a stone pavilion in Angel’s Gate Park. The group then descended on Azusa Street to visit the revival plaque commemorating the site of the Azusa Street Mission. It served as a fountainhead for the international Pentecostal Movement from 1906 to 1931. The pastor preached messages of salvation, holiness, and power, transforming the congregation into a multicultural center of worship welcoming people from all over the world. Today, the Pentecostal Movement has half a billion members worldwide.
“The Pentecostal Movement exploded worldwide to Korea, which is how Christianity hit Korea,” said Peace Road team member Yoshie Manaka. “This laid a foundation for the Unification Movement to also take root there.”
The team also shared messages of reconciliation with Sweet Alice Harris, a renowned community activist and peacemaker, while discussing the 1992 LA riots where anger erupted after police were acquitted of beating a local black man, Rodney King.
City by the Bay
The team headed north to the Bay Area on August 17, where they held a cleanup service project on the streets of Oakland before biking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Constructed in 1933, the suspension bridge is 1.7 miles long, spanning the Golden Gate Strait that connects the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
“It’s really wonderful to have the ability to be with others, and I really enjoyed walking and talking with my team,” said Oakland City District 5 Councilmember Noel Gallo, who joined the Peace Road cleanup project. “I thank the Peace Road team from the bottom of my heart for what they are doing for this community and around the country.”
On August 19, the group paid tribute to the Sacagawea Statue in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon. A young native woman, Sacagawea was an instrumental guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition in exploring the Louisiana Territory in 1805.
“Sacagawea remains a voice for native women because of her prominence,” said one local native woman. “She has even been recognized as an honorary Army sergeant in 2001, and the Western Shoshone Indians were honored with 3,000 acres of sacred sites in the Nevada High Desert in 2017. Even the current pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of self-sufficiency and a step toward preparedness and resilience on a number of Indian reservations.”
The Evergreen State
The Peace Road team ventured to Seattle, Washington, on August 20 to pray at the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) Zone where protesters gathered in June 2020 after George Floyd’s death. The team then went to Edwin T. Pratt Park to share messages of healing and reconciliation. Pratt was an American activist during the Civil Rights Movement before his assassination in 1969 and directed the Seattle Urban League.
“We cannot define the perimeters of people who are being abused,” said Rev. Dr. Robert Jeffrey of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Seattle. “We cannot continue to be complacent and have business as usual if we truly want peace in this nation and this world. We must heed these calls for help.”
The group also stopped by the Peace Arch Border Crossing, which connects Washington state and British Columbia on the Canada–United States border. The arch, which stands 67 feet tall, commemorates the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 and symbolizes a long history of peace between the two nations.
The Last Frontier
Arriving in Alaska on August 21—the 49th state known as ‘the last frontier’— the Peace Riders biked the Anchorage Trail to the Martin Luther King Jr. Living Memorial. The memorial, dedicated in June 2012, is the northernmost U.S. monument and features a sculpted bust of Dr. King. The team honored the great Civil Rights Movement leader and his efforts toward building peace in America.
“If we unfold and discover every painful thing that America has been through, then we know how to heal,” said Peace Road team member Stephanie Dias. “We know how to heal so history doesn’t repeat itself. That is what I have been feeling this entire time on Peace Road.”
A few Peace Riders arrived at the Bering Strait via a small plane, flying directly above the body of water separating the United States and Russia by 55 miles at its narrowest point. As the only marine gateway between the Arctic and Pacific oceans, a crossing would provide a connection linking North America and Eurasia—creating an ‘international peace highway’ joining five of the seven world continents.
“The Bering Sea is the point where the World Peace King Bridge and Tunnel of the Bering Strait is going to be built,” said Universal Peace Federation (UPF) USA President Dr. Michael Jenkins, as he stood on the shore with a bag of three copies of Dr. Moon’s memoir before placing it on the water. “We are going to build that bridge between the former enemy nations of America and Russia. We already see Mother Moon bringing peace to the whole world. Dipping Mother Moon’s book into the Bering Sea proclaims that we will build the bridge, which will bring unity to the world by bridging all cultures and reconciling all people to bring about God’s providence.”
Peace Road first began in 2015 at the behest of Mother of Peace Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), and quickly grew into an international movement bringing together hundreds of thousands of people from all backgrounds who walk, bike, and drive for peace. UPF USA and UPF Canada will spearhead the World Peace King Bridge and Tunnel project. A copy of Dr. Moon’s book that was placed in the Bering Sea will go to Russia before being given to Mother Moon in Korea, while the other two copies will go to Alaska and Canada, symbolizing international unity.
For the full reports and photos of the Peace Road 2020 tour, you can check out the team’s journey on peaceroadusa.org.