Pilgrimage for Racial Justice in Staunton this weekend

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — On Saturday, August 17, people in Staunton, and even some from out of state will be participating in a "Pilgrimage for Racial Justice."

Pilgrimage for Racial Justice flyer. | Credit: WHSV

They will be starting at 10 a.m. at the original Allen Chapel AME on W. Beverley St., which was the first church established by a person of color in Staunton, and making their way to the Augusta St. United Methodist Church.

They will be stopping at significant places and businesses for people of color along the way through the streets of Staunton, which are paved with centuries of history.

The pilgrimage is hosted by the the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Virginia and Stuart Hall School as part of events to mark the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of slaves in America at Jamestown in 1619.

Reverend Edward Scott said he hopes this pilgrimage will allow people to come together and build a lasting peace.

"This is a place that has some racial history that needs to be confronted, that needs to be understood properly," Scott said.

There will be songs, prayer and remarks made during the pilgrimage, and Scott said all are welcome in participating.

"If they have a heart, and they have a mind and a spirit for peace and reconciliation in this town and across this country, they are welcome to lock arms with us, and let the good feeling of compassion float from heart to heart," Scott said.

Scott hopes the pilgrimage will foster conversations and be just the start of work to bring the community closer together.

You can read a letter from the head of Stuart Hall and the school chaplain about the pilgrimage here.

You can learn more about part of the Valley's long history of slavery, including the critical role the Valley Pike played in the national slave trade, here.