Atlantans Return from Three-Year Global Peace Walk
(APN) ATLANTA — Atlantan, Audri Scott Williams, had a vision in April 2005. She and the Spirit of Truth Foundation wanted to spread the message of global peace. Armed with the vision and word of mouth, six people agreed to sell their wordly assets and start out on a march across six continents doing public service work. The march took three and a half years, and covered 17 countries and six continents.
What began at the King Center in Atlanta on October 21, 2005, ended on the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King in April 2009.
“What happened was when I had the dream, every place that we were to go came forward in the dream as well as the timeline. That made it really easy because I didn’t have to think about what we were doing. In terms of visas and stuff, because we didn’t have the money to do everything up front, most things happened right in the moment as it was time to move from one place to another,” Williams told Atlanta Progressive News.
“We all had passports and we did our visa just as we got into one country we would start working on the next country,” Williams said.
The peace walkers visited cities in the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, India, Egypt, Greece, Holland, Morocco, the Caribbean, Peru, Pakistan, Guatemala, Austalia, Spain, and Turkey.
The group put their money together to start the march, including retirement saving and pensions. As they walked they were able to get contributions and often what was needed would appear, Williams said.
“I received this email… if you come to Australia if there is anything I can do let me know… we were two hours away from her with no place to stay that night… with that relationship we met the aboriginal communities.”
They would do community service wherever they went. “It was very much in our nature to always be mindful of being in service of a team as well as the community,” Williams said. They helped Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. They worked at food banks, ranches, and spoke at churches, schools, and other community organizations.
The march included Williams’s own mother 79 year-old Natalie, in a wheel chair. Of the original six walkers, one had to leave because of family issues; a young woman and her four year old joined the group for a year and a half in the Netherlands; and they were joined by an Australian woman in the final march from New York back down to Atlanta.
Much of their work was in keeping themselves centered believing peace begins within. First while advocating no religion there was a belief that the walkers had to be connected to something greater than themselves. They considered this “the energy that helped us to move forward,” Williams said. They emphasized what they called detraumatization, being supportive of one another and able to communicate.
“We take everyone in the moment where we are and allow like a relief valve… without any expectation and identifying what is most pressing to them and to help them find a space of comfort even in the midst of the chaos,” Williams said. The group held circles once a day to discuss all issues large and small.
“We could confront anything when we were centered,” Williams said.
“Humor was very important in our group circle; every morning we laughed a lot… We also used it just to keep the energy at a certain level. Whenever we would get too heavy with things we would say, ‘OK stop and drop. Get out of your head, get in your heart.’ We had these little trigger sayings that we would use with each other.”
The members of the group were asked to spend at least 20 minutes not just walking through, but becoming conscious of nature and things around them.
In the worldwide communities the group found they could only help by meeting people where they were at and understanding their boundaries and those of the community. “Really getting to know… what works and what doesn’t work. At the same time we have to know what is the time to shift those boundaries,” Williams said.
“When we got [to the Hawaiian tent city] we realized here was a community stressed to the hilt trying to provide services… these were families living in tents… we ended up… creating this venue where we would just sit and meet with the administrators and service providers and hear their stories… in Hawaii it was just listening, and we listened and we listened. That in itself created a bridge,” Williams said.
The Trail of Dreams World Peace Walk was created to focus attention on peace and global transformation as the group moved around the planet. The group wanted to meet people and establish relationships. “We were not trying to be political or social; we were not trying to be anything other than moving people to people heart to heart. In order to get to that level to attract human relationships we had to find that within ourselves,” Williams said.
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Alice Gordon is a Staff Writer for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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