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Dr. Metres’ peace walks bring solace to JCU community

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Laken Kincaid
Multiple wonderful things are happening around John Carroll’s campus at any given moment.

Starting Oct. 16, Dr. Phil Metres began leading silent “peace walks” around John Carroll’s main quad. These walks are in honor of the lives that have been lost in Israel and Palestine over the last few weeks. 

Participants are invited to take small candles in their hands and walk together in silence around the quad, joining collective grief into one great memorial for the innocent lives and families that have been taken in these acts of violence. I was lucky enough to attend the walk that took place on Oct. 17. 

I was joined by faculty, friends and fellow students in this silent walk – the energy was palpable. Even in the silence, I could feel the depth of the grief the people around me were experiencing, as well as their prayers for the violence to end and the loss of innocents to be halted. As we gathered in a circle at the end of the walk to say any final thoughts or intentions, many were making the sign of the cross over themselves, mumbling quiet prayers or holding their candles close to their chests in hope and loss.

I was joined on the walk by fellow classmate Sarah Azzi ‘24 who had a similar experience.

“With so much going on right now, the peace walk was very moving to me,” Sarah said. “It meant a lot to me to walk with students and faculty, and I strongly believe in the power of prayer during these heartbreaking and unprecedented times.”

Dr. Metres has been working for 25 years for a just peace in Israel/Palestine, and this is the worst violence he has ever seen in his lifetime. These peace walks are his way of feeling like he has some control over a situation that is out of control.

“This recent violence brings up the ghosts of genocide – the ongoing Nakba for Palestinians, the haunting of the Holocaust and Jewish precarity,” Metres said. “There are still hostages taken by Hamas, and Israel continues to bury its dead. At the same time, some are calling what’s happening now in Gaza a genocide. With the U.S. providing $4 billion dollars of aid to Israel every year, we are deeply implicated in what’s happening. On a more personal note, one of my friends, the Palestinian poet Fady Joudah, has had at least 49 members of his family killed by Israeli bombs. Another, Mosab Abu Toha, now living in Gaza, has had at least 30 killed. Nearly half the homes of Gaza have been damaged or destroyed. Over a million people have been displaced. When will we cry out?”

If you or anyone you know would be interested in joining in one of these peace walks, please feel free to contact Metres via his email, [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Olivia Buckel, Media Beat Reporter
Olivia Buckel is a Media Beat Reporter for The Carroll News. She is from Erie, Pennsylvania, and is currently a freshman at JCU. She is majoring in English with a Creative Writing concentration as well as a Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies minor. She is also in the Honors Program In addition to writing for The Carroll News, Olivia is also a part of the Honors Service Board, as well as the JCU Allies Club and the Women and Allies Coalition. She is also a Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Ambassador and a prose editor for The Carroll Review. During her free time, Olivia enjoys reading fantasy books, writing fantasy stories, and watching fantasy TV. In the future, Olivia hopes to be an editor for a publishing house or magazine.  
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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