Louisville groups hold peace walk and candlelight vigil for all lives lost in Israel and Gaza

Interfaith Paths to Peace and the Center for Interfaith Relations held a candlelight vigil and peace walk for the lives of all those lost in Israel and Gaza.
Published: Oct. 15, 2023 at 11:37 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2023 at 12:05 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In the midst of the conflict in Israel and Gaza, some groups say they’re just looking to show compassion for all those involved.

Interfaith Paths to Peace partnered with Center for Interfaith Relations Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil and walk for peace in the Middle East.

It gives people a chance to offer care and support for the Israeli and Palestinian people.

In the past week, Louisville has seen demonstrations from people in support for Israel and for those supporting the Palestinian people but Sunday night, IPP and CIR wanted to create a space for those who don’t want to choose sides.

The conflict in Israel and Gaza has taken thousands of lives and has created a divide abroad and here in the United States.

And while some people are choosing to speak out for their respective belief, others are choosing to stand with all.

“We’re not here to say who’s right and who’s wrong but we’re here to say we love you and we’re here to support you through our intentions and through our hearts, through our love and through our presence here,” Interfaith Paths to Peace Executive Director Jud Hendrix said.

The group held a candlelight vigil and walk for peace to give everyone present a chance to cope with the tragedies occurring in their own way, not just in the Middle East but around the world.

“Louisville is a compassionate city and I see the evidence everyday in moments like this where we’re willing to show up across boundaries, across differences,” Center for Interfaith Relation’s Community Engagement Manager Mandy Olivan said. “And say yes there are times to take action and to draw a line in the sand and there are times to really intentionally stand together.”

And while she does believe people should be able to share their voices and stances whether it be in support of Israel or Palestine, Olivan says they wanted to have a space for those who sometimes just can’t find the words.

“Sometimes the words fail us. Sometimes it’s really important to say the words and sometimes it’s really important to stand in silence and to hold enough space for the complexities that are affecting all of us,” Olivan shared.

Hendrix said he wants to make sure we as people have compassion and humanity first but acknowledges there is a lot of work to do to reach peace.

“There is a lot of work to be done. We’re not saying that there’s not work to be done but we’re trying to start from a place of saying we see you, you belong we’re humans and we hope peace, and harmony and love for everyone,” he said.

For those in need of grief counseling because of the violence in Israel and Gaza, both the Jewish Family and Career Services and the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods are offering free services.