COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Quotes from scripture and words of wisdom from religious and civic leaders now grace 37 stones at the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park on the east side of Columbus.
Along this new “Pathway of Justice,” each stone provides a moment of quiet reflection and a ray of hope for a brighter tomorrow.
“We’re here to celebrate in Washington Gladden Park some of the greatest social justice warriors that this city, and that this nation, and this world has ever known,” proclaims Rev. Tim Ahrens with the First Congregational Church.
The park is unique; it’s the only park in the entire country dedicated solely to social justice. On Sunday, civic and religious leaders unveiled the historic park’s newest element.
“Even though it’s the first park of its kind, I hope that other cities and other states across the country would come here, see what we’ve done, see our commitment and want to replicate that,” says Franklin County Commissioner Erica Crawley.
The Pathway of Justice features more than three dozen stones engraved with quotes from social justice leaders all over the world.
The words of inspiration, designed to influence visitors to join the effort to build a brighter future for all people.
“I had the opportunity to make a donation to Bill Willis. A hero of mine. It told me you don’t have to be quiet about everything. It told me sometimes silence hurts,” recalls former Ohio State Buckeye and park trustee Archie Griffin.
Using a variation of Morse Code, the stones are strategically placed, each one forming letters and hidden words associated with social justice.
“I think this is a place for teachers to bring their students, or parents to bring their children, and see history and learn what it means to our country and our city and learn from it,” Commissioner Crawley adds.
The park is named after Rev. Washington Gladden — the man widely viewed as the father of the social gospel movement.
“On our pathway of justice is represented the path or learning, the path of hope, the path of diversity, the path of interfaith action and the path of inspiration,” Rev. Ahrens exclaims.
And it’s through these words, that Rev. Washington’s vision still resonates today– a message carved in stone.
“I think that people will get a lot from the fact that they can see all these people that have made a difference in other people’s lives,” Griffin predicts.
You can take a walk down the Pathway of Justice by visiting the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park on Broad St. in downtown Columbus, next to the Columbus Museum of Art.