Jackie Joyner-Kersee to lead second Annual Love Train Unity Walk

| October 19, 2017
Jackie Joyner Kersee

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

FORT WAYNE—Last year it was the survivors of the Charleston Church Massacre leading the way to unity in our community, and now six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee will be at the front of the line.

Having been dubbed “The Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century” by Sports Illustrated, her athletic accomplishments are literally second to none.  By the conclusion of her career in the heptathlon and long jump events she had amassed six Olympic medals (three gold, one silver, two bronze) and four World Champion titles over four consecutive Olympic Games.  Joyner-Kersee was the first woman in history to earn more than 7,000 points in the heptathlon and today, more than 20 years later, she still holds the world heptathlon record of 7,291 points.  She continues to hold the Olympic and national records in the long jump and her 1994 performance in the long jump remains the second longest in history.

While her athletic accomplishments have been well documented and remain some of the best ever across all of sports, less well known are tireless efforts off the field as a philanthropist and advocate children’s education, health issues (in particular asthma from which she has suffered throughout her life), racial equality, social reform and women’s rights.

“Our desire to use the march as a mechanism to shift our community from confrontation to cooperation required the participation of a transcendent individual with the capability of bringing diverse factions together, and Mrs. Joyner-Kersee has lived one of our nations most exceptional lives” said the Rev. Bill McGill who is organizing the march.  “These are challenging days for our nation, but I still believe the majority of our citizens are ready to see love and unity arrive at our station.  The march has a very simple structure: no required registration or reservation, just free and voluntary participation.”

The theme for the walk is “Take A Stand & Take A Hand” and hopes to serve as the springboard for quarterly events that highlight the need for ongoing racial reconciliation.  Hoping to draw no less than 2,500 people (one percent of the greater Fort Wayne population), organizers hope it sends a clear and irrefutable message that the majority of our citizens support total equality.  The Rev. McGill said he hopes that entire families will come allowing the event to serve as “a teachable moment, especially to children, that none of us are free until all of us are free.”

The walk is scheduled for Sunday, Oct, 29, beginning promptly at 4 p.m.  The walk will start at Lawton Park, crossing the MLK Memorial Bridge and end at Freimann Square where a brief program of music and remarks will be held.

For additional information please contact the Rev. Bill McGill, executive pastor of

One Church-One Offender at (260) 410-3430.

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Category: Civil Rights, Community, Events, Local, Spiritual Matters, Sports

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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