FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Six-time Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee visited Fort Wayne Sunday to promote peace and harmony at the second annual Love Train Unity Walk.
Joyner-Kersee, in her heyday in the 1980’s and 1990’s, won medals in the heptathalon and long jump.
Reverend Bill McGill of Imani Baptist Temple invited her to join the Summit City community in the walk which had the theme of “Take a Stand & Take a Hand.”
“It’s really great when you can bring people from all walks of life and really talk about love because I think our nation as well as our communities need a lot of healing and in order to heal you got to have love,” Joyner-Kersee said.
About 100 people walked from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge to Freimann Square, where Joyner-Kersee and McGill spoke. Afterwards, the walkers held hands and danced to the song ‘Love Train’ by the O’Jays.
“If we want to heal, it starts with one person,” Joyner-Kersee expressed as the event wrapped up. “It starts with self first and self can make a difference and those numbers can multiply by just starting with one.”
Community activist and Imani Baptist Temple Reverend Bill McGill agrees. That’s why he took it upon himself to start the Love Train Unity Walk.
“Well I’m hopeful, but Fort Wayne is a very unique place in that it is so nice that it never wants to admit problems that we do have,” he said. “They are minor but we can’t allow any problems to fester.”
McGill awaits the day that thousands will appear at the unity walks. He believes the power of massive participation will send a discouraging message to anyone trying to stop the progress of racial harmony in our community.
“Giving people the opportunity to just show up and show your face,” he explained. “Show some grace and that in and of itself will send some powerful messages to the negative forces in our community that they can’t win. That love always conquers hate and all we’ve got to do is bring equality through our gate.”
McGill said the next Unity Walk will be in the Spring.