First Unitarian is leading the way in West Baltimore in organizing a Religious Pilgrimage for Jobs and Justice along the path of the future Red Line light rail mass transit line! Working with our congregational partners in BRIDGE (Baltimore Regional Initiative Developing Genuine Equality) and our neighborhood partner the Edmondson Village Neighborhood Association, we will march from Cookâ€™s Lane to the West Baltimore MARC Station, making pilgrim stops (â€œstations,â€ if you will!) to sing and pray and raise a cry for jobs, for civil rights, for fair development. Exciting!
The process is as important as the product, right? This process, to live into its potential, requires developing relationships with the communities along the Red Line corridor. We hope to identify a dozen congregations who will be near future Red Line stations and who will greet our pilgrims on their journey and help host the â€œcrying out.â€ I spent a few hours last Thursday driving with Rev. David Casey, executive director of BRIDGE, and Angela Pinder, a member of St. Matthewâ€™s United Methodist Church, around West Baltimore, collating a list of about 40 congregations that weâ€™d like to engage in one way or another. It was a beautiful day, and the camaraderie that I experienced with these two leaders gives me greater confidence in our ability to fill this pilgrimage with passion and power. And, I believe, darned good politics!
Our great desire is to assure that local people in poor communities get access to construction jobs in the building of the Red Line. We hope that our congregations may become recruiting stations to guide unemployed and underemployed people toward pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. We hope that divisions within the city and between city and county may be bridged by our actions, and that our walking with one another on this pilgrimage will lead to future cooperative engagements. A great time to be in Baltimore! A great time to be at First Unitarian Baltimore!