MUSCATINE, Iowa–In response to the death of George Floyd, Salvation Army leadership across the country called for peace walks and similar events to honor him and bring national attention to police violence against African American people: “The Salvation Army encouraged all officers across the Central Territory to organize prayer walks. The leadership in Chicago actually joined other Salvation Army officers in Minneapolis, as George Floyd was previously an employee of The Salvation Army there,” said Salvation Army of Muscatine County Lieutenant Greg Bock.
Listening to this call, Bock worked to organize events in Muscatine County.”We wanted to show the world that we hear their outcry and we see their pain,” said Muscatine Salvation Army Lieutenant Greg Bock: “The response to pain should always be to find the root cause and heal it, and for some reason, we’ve become okay with just dulling the pain of our brothers and sisters, instead of actively working to understand their pain and helping them heal. This is what inspired me to organize this walk,” he elaborated. “We wanted to show that we wanted to help be instruments of peace for black lives, because Black Lives Matter.”
On June 2, Bock and the Salvation Army of Muscatine County held two peace gatherings. The first took place in Musser Park at noon and involved a walk part way down the riverfront. Due to the day’s heat, the second gathering at 5 p. m. stayed in Riverside Park. At both gatherings, people memorialized African Americans who had lost their lives and shared messages of peace. “We gathered, prayed, we spoke the names of just a fraction of those lost and we released dove balloons into the sky as a sign of peace,” shared Bock: “We prayed for peace, we repented, and asked God to bring reconciliation to this community, this state, and this country, and asked that it would start inside of us! We can’t expect to see the headlines change until we change.” Between the two gatherings, about 41 Muscatine residents joined Bock to help him spread his message.
By holding the two peace gatherings, Bock hoped to show area residents that the Salvation Army of Muscatine County takes fighting for racial justice seriously and that they work to promote peace throughout the community and wider world. “I hope they took away from the walks that The Salvation Army of Muscatine County and the Ministerial Association isn’t blind to what is happening in our country–what is happening in our own community,” he stated. Bock also intended the gathering to serve as a way to unite people and remind everyone of the need to treat each other with love and respect always.