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At Philly peace march, local issues dominate

Don Sapatkin, STAFF WRITER

Updated: Saturday, August 19, 2017, 11:15 PM

A group gathers in front of McPherson Square, where local faith leaders and activists spoke at a rally against gun violence and drug addiction. About 75 people took part in the Kensington Interfaith Peace March on Saturday night, with the emphasis on problems plaguing the community, not issues drawing national demonstrations. The route began and ended at the Free Church of St. John, a lay-led Episcopal mission on Emerald Street, a few blocks from the main arteries of Frankford, Kensington, and East Allegheny Avenues. A police spokesman said no problems were reported.

It was billed as the Kensington Interfaith Peace March, and that's exactly what Saturday night's gathering in Philadelphia turned out to be.

While thousands of people turned out for conservative rallies and counterdemonstrations against white supremacists in tense cities around the country - Dallas police stationed sharpshooters atop buildings; 27 people were arrested in Boston - no one even

tried to steer the Kensington protest beyond issues that plague the neighborhood.

About 75 people marched through the community, which has been ravaged by drug addiction and crime, to protest gun violence and honor those who have lost their lives to heroin and bullets. The route began and ended at the Free Church of St. John, a

lay-led Episcopal mission on Emerald Street, a few blocks from the main arteries of Frankford, Kensington, and East Allegheny Avenues.

A Philadelphia police spokesman said no problems were reported.

Local faith leaders and activists spoke at nearby McPherson Square, which was littered with used needles until the city moved recently to clear out a group of homeless people and clean up the park. (A homeless community under the Emerald Street bridge

has grown bigger.)

White nationalism and the removal of Confederate statues - issues that led to a series of highly criticized tweets from President Trump in the wake of a counterprotester's death during a violent Unite the Right rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

- never came up at the Kensington gathering.

Nor did the controversial former Mayor Frank Rizzo.

dsapatkin@phillynews.com

215-854-2617

@DonSapatkin

Staff writer Bob Fernandez contributed to this article.

Don Sapatkin, STAFF WRITER

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