July 4th Walk for Values: Greater St. Louis, MO
The SSIO of the Mid-Central Region, USA organized a “Walk for Values” as part of the 2018 July 4th Parade by the City of Bridgeton, Missouri.
A Walk for Values is a walk-a-thon in which no money is solicited; instead, people are asked to pledge and commit to live up to one or more of the human values in their lives. The purpose is to raise awareness of positive human values such as love, truth, non-violence and peace and bring attention to the urgent need to practice them in our community.
Around 30 Sai Center members from the Greater St. Louis Sai Center participated in a Walk for Values as part of the annual Independence Day Community Parade. The route passed through local neighborhoods, by the City Hall of Bridgeton and even the Greater St. Louis Sai Center. The Sai Center members carried placards with various messages on truth, right conduct, love, peace and non-violence. Hundreds of people from the community who lined the streets to watch this annual parade, enthusiastically applauded and shouted out appreciative comments when they saw the Sai contingent. This year, the Sai contingent presented a lead “Walk for Values” banner, Human Values signs and a “Help Ever Hurt Never” banner with the symbols of the world religions of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and the Bahai faith. The contingent also showcased a Values truck, decorated with messages on the benefits of living a life based on human values. Rounding off the rear was a banner with Mahatma Gandhi’s inspirational message exhorting everyone to be the change they want to see in the world. Sai Spiritual Education students added a special touch by lovingly passing out treats to other children along the parade route.
By holding a value sign and walking in the community, participants were able to reflect on the meaning of the value and, even though they may not always live up to them, many believed and realized they are worth striving for. In addition, participants expressed how much the Walk made them feel a part of Community and generated a feeling of oneness with all, especially when spectators from the local communities greeted and cheered them on despite the sweltering heat! A smiling face, a waving hand, a small handshake, a loud greeting and the children looking for small treats were all signs of the bonding and harmony within the community!
A participant of the Walk reflected on the event , “How joyous it was to participate in the Walk for Values on the Fourth of July! Sathya Sai Baba says all are our kith and kin and this event certainly made me see it and believe it. I could not miss the chance to walk up to all the police officers along the route to say “Thank you”. One of the elderly veterans came up and pinned a flag on me. There were hugs and moist eyes on both sides. I felt energized being part of a group taking His message into the community”