‘Housing Not Handcuffs’ march dedicated to MLK

Delaware State News photos/Marc Clery

DOVER — Legislators stood beside the homeless, Latinos with African-Americans and Caucasians.

Harmonious unity among all highlighted Saturday’s Housing Not Handcuffs Community Justice Walk.

Over 100 supporters gathered at Legislative Mall, hardly deterred by wintry precipitation and cold.

The event dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. covered plenty of ground, literally and figuratively, before wrapping up after a couple hours, and organizer Pastor Aaron Appling of Victory Church deemed it a success.

“I was thrilled to see representation from all parts of our community,” he said. “We just wanted to show unity while putting attention on homeless issues, equality for the poor and other segments of society in need of the most attention.”

Dover Councilman David Anderson said while the city staff and police have an “enlightened approach” to interacting with homeless existing among the community “we can’t allow an assault on civil liberties when it comes to the criminalization of poverty.

“I believe we address the homeless in a balanced way by not giving them special privileges, but there can’t be a targeting of them either.”

The throng walked to the Dover library and city hall, stopping to read passages and quotes from Dr. King, reflecting on his words and their relevance in today’s society.

“No one organization can stand up for homelessness and hope to make a change,” the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill AME Church in Dover, said.

“We need do the work together and today is an example of bringing people together no matter what race or place in the world they occupy.”

Pastor Appling focused on Dr. King’s view from a Birmingham, Alabama jail decades ago that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Charito Calvachi-Mateyko of the Delaware Hispanic Commission traveled from Sussex County to take part, noting that Dr. King corresponded with one a “quintessential” Latino leader Cesar Chavez in 1966 during his “decades long nonviolent battle to free farm workers, Latinos and other poor working people from the bonds of abuse and poverty.”

According to Ms. Calvachi-Mateyko, “It there is one lesson we learned from Dr. King, it is that our struggle for civil rights is indivisible.”

Dover area state representatives Sean Lynn and Andria Bennett attended, along city councilmen Mr. Anderson and Brian Lewis. Tanner Polce represented Lieutenant Governor elect Bethany Hall-Long, missing due to inclement weather in New Castle County.

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