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Rasuli Lewis Children’s March for Peace

Every year, our community comes together to denounce violence in all its forms and demand peace in Harlem. As always, our children lead the charge.

Welcome to the 27th Annual Rasuli Lewis Children’s March for Peace!

A signature HCZ event, the Children’s March for Peace features inspiring performances and remarks from our children, staff, and members of our community.

History of the Children’s March for Peace

In the 1990s, an elementary school girl was hit by a stray bullet while in her Harlem apartment. In response to the tragedy — and the epidemic of violence plaguing our neighborhood — students and staff at Harlem Children’s Zone organized a march through the streets calling for peace. The event has continued every year since then. It has since been named for the late Rasuli Lewis, the visionary organizer of the first Children’s March for Peace who passed away just a few days before the event in 2019.

Here’s a look back at the history of the event recorded for its 25th anniversary:

Honoring the Late Rasuli Lewis

Rasuli Lewis is a legendary figure within Harlem Children’s Zone who fought for peace in our neighborhood — and everywhere — throughout his storied career.

Upon joining Harlem Children’s Zone in 1993, Lewis became director of Peacemakers and for 10 years, developed the anti-violence program into a strong and critical element of our network of services. In 2003, Lewis began building our Practitioners Institute to share information about our work and provide pivotal guidance to groups from around the U.S. and the world to replicate our model.

Just days before the Children’s March for Peace in 2019, Lewis passed away. He was interviewed on video just prior to the event, and it was played in his honor.

A Look Back: March for Peace 2020

For the first time last year, the March for Peace was held virtually. Although we couldn’t host it in person, the spirit of the event endured.