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Sept. 11 peace walk to demonstrate we are better together

Event part of 'Better Together' campaign

Nearly 10 years ago on Sept. 11, terrorists commandeered four commercial airliners and used them to perpetrate horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing thousands and forever changing the way we think about travel, security, government, and religious diversity.

This year, in an effort to make Ohio University and Athens a place where our diversity is celebrated, an interfaith peace walk will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, beginning at the Church of the Good Shepherd on University Terrace and ending at the Islamic Center on Stewart Street.

"Students today have grown up with one image of religious diversity: the image of commercial jets crashing into skyscrapers," said United Campus Ministry Campus Minister Evan Young. "But in the 10 years since 9/11, there's been another story gaining ground in this country — a story of people from different faiths serving together, and talking together about what their traditions teach them about this shared value, and understanding each other on a deeply personal level. We want this interfaith peace walk to serve as an illustration of this other story — to show people, in the flesh and on the streets of Athens, what it looks like to be "better together."

The march will make the rounds of the Athens uptown churches, starting at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and making its way past First United Methodist Church, Athens First Presbyterian, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mount Zion Baptist Church, Hillel, St. Paul Catholic Church, Christ Lutheran Church, and Christ the King University Parish, and end by encircling the Islamic Center in a symbolic gesture of welcome, inclusion and appreciation.

Sponsors of the peace walk include: UCM: Center for Spiritual Growth and Social Justice; Appalachian Peace and Justice Network; Ohio University Office of Diversity, Access and Equity; Ohio University Office of Residential Housing; Athens Friends Meeting; Christ Lutheran Church; Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd; Hillel at Ohio University; the Muslim Student Association (MSA); and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens.

The march is part of the President Obama inspired "Better Together" campaign at Ohio University, which is a yearlong effort to mobilize college students from different faith backgrounds to engage in community service together to make Ohio University a better place for everyone.

"This is a demonstration for peace," explains Young, "embodying a more joyful and less fearful vision of our world and our future."