“Love Thy Neighbor”, a peace march organized by Burlingame advocates Lynn Ryan, Deborah Leon, and Rabbi Dan Feder, started at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.
In response to the events in Charlottesville and the Patriot Prayer group rally that had been planned for earlier that day, the “Love Thy Neighbor” march went from St. Paul’s to Burlingame City Hall and drew a crowd of around 300 people.
The event drew people of all ages who carried candles and signs with slogans like “Hate has no place in Burlingame” and “Love wins.”
It also featured speeches from religious leaders from Burlingame congregations and religious organizations, including Rabbi Feder, from Peninsula Temple Sholom; Reverend Thomas Skilling, from St. Paul’s Episcopal; Father Michael Mahoney, from Our Lady of Angels; Nyla Ibrahim, from Yaseen Foundation; Justin Moresco, from Good Shepherd Lutheran; and Beth Frykberg, from First Presbyterian Church.
“The thought process for all of us was here’s a chance for the Burlingame community– the elected leaders, the religious leaders, and the citizens– to come together in a positive way, to stand up for what we believe in and to affirm that this is what we believe in: tolerance, inclusion, and the inherent worth and value of every human being,” Feder said. “And I am really heartened and moved by this community response.”
Ryan said she believes the crowd drawn by religious connections was greater than the crowd drawn by the grass-roots group.
“It was probably about 25 percent our grass-roots group and 75 percent our church community,” she said.
Also in attendance was Burlingame Mayor Ricardo Ortiz, Burlingame School District Board of Trustees member Davina Drabkin, and every member of the Burlingame City Council except Vice Mayor Michael Brownrigg, who could not attend.
“I think it’s important that people stand up and make themselves heard,” Ortiz said. “We’ve got to make sure that nobody thinks it’s okay, and these are the kinds of events that make sure that everybody knows it’s not okay.”
Burlingame City Council members Donna Colson and Ann Keighran began by reading Resolution No. 83-2017, or the Resolution of the City of Burlingame’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, to the crowd in front of city hall.
Ryan, one of the main organizers, is the administrator of the private Facebook group “Vive le Resistance,” which is “a grass-roots, action-oriented resistance group working to support politicians, policies and ideologies that are consistent with the values of peace, tolerance, environmental protection, civil rights, democracy and the responsible governance of our great nation,” according to the page description.
“It’s basically people just like you and me who are concerned about the current political environment we’re living in right now,” Ryan said in her opening remarks.
Ryan also said she plans to have more marches in the future, including something in San Francisco for the Women’s March.
The event concluded with two musical performances where the audience was invited to sing along. Rabbi Molly Plotnik of Peninsula Temple Sholom performed “If Not Now” and Cantor Barry Reich, also of Peninsula Temple Sholom, performed “Blowing in the Wind.”