ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – After a year of devastation, division and disease, dozens in the city of Elmira and across the Twin Tiers came out to Wisner Park Saturday to march together in a symbol of unity.
Beginning at 2 p.m., participants marched on East Church Street to City hall where community leaders delivered remarks regarding the importance of unity in the community. The walk was put on by Georgia Verdier, President of the Elmira-Corning chapter of the NAACP and Political Scientist Dr. Stephen Coleman.
“[This event] provides hope,” Verdier said. “We’ve been through some dismal days. This is something I believe everyone can see themselves in. We all want unity in the community.”
Dr. Coleman agreed, telling 18 News he wants residents to see and embrace the community despite any differences residents share.
There’s a lot of conflict in the country but here in Elmira we respect each other, we get along,” Dr. Coleman said. “United we stand, and we’re standing in Elmira today.”
I’m hoping this is just the beginning of something we can carry throughout the year. This is kind of just like a launching pad,” Verdier said.
The event even brought out some of the youngest residents in the Twin Tiers.
“My nana and teacher want to deliver free lunches from Grace Church,” 7-year-old Milo Heyward said.
Organizers of the event told 18 News they hope their “Unity in the Community” marches are just getting started.
Speakers included Dr. Stephen Coleman, Political Scientist and Commentator; Georgia Verdier, Elmira/Corning NAACP President; Honorable Dan Mandell, Mayor, Elmira; John Forde, Therapeutic Life Coach, Libertad-Elmira Veteran and Family program at the Economic Opportunity Program; Rev. Holly Strickland, Pastor, Webb Mills UMC, Pine City; Rev. Lorri Thornton, Pastor, Friendship Baptist Church, Corning; and Chief Anthony Alvernaz, Chief of Police, Elmira.