About 50 people walked silently and peacefully around Capitol Lake on Sunday, continuing a tradition that began nine years ago to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who espoused peaceful forms of protest.
Attendance was down from the 90 people who participated last year, likely because the noon start time was in the middle of the Seattle Seahawks football game.
Still, they came, they walked and the rain stopped. It usually takes about an hour to complete the 2-mile loop around the lake, said Koro Kaisan Miles, a Zen Buddhist priest with Open Gate Zendo of Olympia and a co-founder of the walk.
“For me this event exemplifies the dream, vision and legacy of Martin Luther King,” said Robert Lovitt, co-founder of the event. “I always associate him with dignity.”
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Lovitt added: “The walk reignites my own determination and hope for community and peace.”
But it’s not just about walking silently to remember King, said Miles, but also about Thic Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was once nominated by King for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Thich Nhat Hanh always promoted silent, meditative walking as a way to promote peace,” he said.
Also joining the walk on Sunday was regular attendee Kobai Scott Whitney of the Plum Mountain Buddhist Community in Aberdeen. He had another thought about the importance of the silent walk around the lake.
“We have become a country of people who yell at each other — the media, politicians — the news cycle loves it,” he said. “But we need some quiet in the middle of all this yelling.”