The first family-friendly Palm Sunday Peace Parade in 2003 was in response
to the war in Iraq. The yearly parade has continued for more than a decade, promoting peace for just one day and bringing a community together to help tackle important societal issues.
Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where everyone’s emotions are riding high with hopes, soon leads to the drama of overturning the money changers and crying over Jerusalem—a totally unexpected way to peace.—Dr. Jill Shook
Parade organizer Dr. Jill Shook said of the theme for 2017: “We’re committed in every way we can to end homelessness in Pasadena. We’re really happy this year that we are able to get all of these people to commit to ending homelessness and ensuring affordable housing for everybody in this city.”
With the aim of not only raising homelessness awareness, but also ending it entirely, the march calls for rent stabilization and an increase in accessory dwelling units (“granny flats”), as well as policies like Housing First that can end chronic homelessness.
This year’s Parade featured Dorothy Edwards, a formerly homeless woman who now serves on the board of directors for Housing Works, a program that provides permanent supportive housing and services to the chronically homeless. Edwards, who now lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena with her dog, Gunner, said:
When I was homeless, I felt that I was in a subculture and I always wanted to be a part of my community. Even though I didn’t have anything to offer and no stability or anything, it was something that I eventually strived for because I knew that I was not going to be out there forever on my own on the streets. I feel great that I am able to give back to the community that helped me so much.
Los Angeles Maryknoll Affiliates commented:
The Palm Sunday Peace Parade was a joyous event of community building surrounding a serious need in our community. Information was shared that challenges us to consider how we can make a tangible difference in the lives of our neighbors.
We made small houses to carry in the Palm Sunday Peace Parade.— Kathee Bautista
I feel that it was not enough to parade down to the public square at the Paseo Colorado to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless. Therefore I plan to follow up those actions by attending the next meeting of Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group on May 6th, and plan to invite the L.A. Affiliates to join me this time if they can. Our Affiliate coordinator Hugh Menton forwarded to me further information on another group working on Measure H, the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative. They are already sifting through eligible strategies which they will recommend to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors for funding in June 2017. I am looking for tangible ways that I and the Affiliates can help and participate in solving this daunting issue of Homelessness.—Tim Moffett
The peace march we joined last Palm Sunday is personal to me being a senior citizen now. As Maryknoll Affiliates, we stand in solidarity with the homeless and those on the brink of being homeless. Affordable housing is very important for those who are on a fixed income. We become the voice of those who could not speak for themselves, giving them hope. Easter is about hope and restoring our human dignity; affordable housing is a human right.—Richard Perez