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Rasuli Lewis Children’s March for Peace

The Rasuli Lewis Children’s March for Peace is an annual event that brings the Harlem Children’s Zone community together to march through the streets and demand peace in our neighborhood.

The event, which has taken place every year for the past 27 years, 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.

Children’s March for Peace 2021 and 2020

For the first time in 2020, and again in 2021, the event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we couldn’t host it in person, the spirit of the event endured.

Children’s March for Peace 2021

Children’s March for Peace 2020