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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

06-09 South Bend Tribune

Folk singer Charlie King performs

Activist March in Rain to Stop Death Penalty
By Chris Seper
Tribune Photo/Dave Witham

South Bend – Heavy rains throughout the day Tuesday washed away most of the supporters for the city’s march against the death penalty.
About 20 area activists marched with 40 activists traveling with the Journey of Hope organization.
Still, leaders of the anti-death penalty drive said it had been a successful day.
“The turnout was excellent considering the weather,” said Bill Pelke, who is spearheading Indiana’s activity for the Journey of Hope.
South Bend’s march is one in a series of in the area and part of a 17-day crusade by the Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, which is sponsoring the journey. The group marched in Michigan City on Saturday and will march again today in Elkhart. After an afternoon march of about nine blocks, the group demonstrated in front of South Bend’s County-City Building for about an hour. The crowd listened to speakers and was entertained by a local folk singer, Papa Joe.
“(We heard) a few honked horns as we walked,” Pelke said, adding many people who noticed the marchers probably wondered what issue would compel demonstrators to walk in the rain.
Along with the small local turnout, Pelke said, about l20 people traveling with Journey of Hope decided to stay behind because of the weather.
Also on Tuesday, Mayor Joseph E. Kernan proclaimed the day set aside to support the families of murder victims and endorsed the Journey’s philosophy of reconciliation and forgiveness instead of retribution.
At 7:30 p.m. folksinger Charles King entertained supporters at the Broadway Christian Parish.
Pelke said he believes the Journey of Hope program has been successful so far because of the group’s message and media coverage. Camera crews, radio stations and newspapers covered Tuesday’s event.
“We’re not just protesting,” he said. “We’re offering alternatives. We’re talking about reconciliation and forgiveness.”