Above: Last year’s walk had more than 500 participants. (photo courtesy Women’s Walk for Peace).

by Lindsay Allen

This Saturday, more than 500 particpants will march in the sixth annual Women’s Walk for Peace to support a peaceful, nonviolent community culture.

The walk is sponsored by the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, and will start at The Pittsburgh Project at Wilson and Charles streets and participants will march two miles to West Park.

Organizers from NCFH created the walk to encourage women and families to take a stand against violence. Angel Gober, a volunteer for the walk, says that since its inception in 2008, the primary goal of the walk has been to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“There was such an overwhelming outreach from the community around the violence that’s been plaguing Pittsburgh,” said Gober. “The community put the issue on the table and we, as women, said, ‘What can we do? What can we do to raise this issue, to talk about it, to get people to come together and talk about it?’ That’s how we came up with the idea for the Walk for Peace.”

The Walk for Peace is a city-wide event that reaches out to many different community allies and community groups, and it is open for anyone to participate.

Organizers expect 500-800 Pittsburgh residents to attend.

“We don’t just have issues on the Northside, we have issues all over the city,” said Gober. “We try to get the word out to people all over—in Homewood, the Hill District, the West End.”

The walk also provides a resource fair with different community groups and service agencies that will provide information about violence prevention and support. The resources include domestic violence groups, community justice groups and job and education training groups.

Originally planned for September, the walk was postponed until this weekend because of inclement weather. Community “Peace Week” activities preceded the original walk date, with programs including a jazz brunch, a game night at PNC Park and a cookout.

The walk is sponsored by organizations including UPMC, the Falk Foundation, and the Women and Girls Foundation and organized and run by volunteers who work hard to better their communities.

“This is a ground-up driven process,” Gober said of the work that goes into running the event. “The women that participate are exceptional women who do it because of the goodness of their hearts. It’s not a job, it’s not a paycheck, they just want things to be better for our neighborhoods.”

As the walk enters its sixth year running, Gober and the other volunteers are excited to see new participants every year and also loyal participants who have been attending every year.

“Now, it’s starting to become a household name—people really know about the walk,” said Gober. “Getting new faces and getting people interested, excited, and looking forward to the walk is a bonus for us. If one person if affected by the work we do for our mission, then it’s all worth it.”

Northside Coalition for Fair Housing is a resident-focused community development organization based on Brighton Road.