In 2005, 9/11 Unity Walk started as a proactive response to 9/11 and religious intolerance in our world. That year, the concept for a Walk Event bringing together people of difference backgrounds and faiths in a show of unity was presented at a Points of Light leadership summit held to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The original idea was put forth by Embassy Row resident Kyle Poole, shaped with the help of Erik Schwarz, and brought to reality by Meg Clifford (Poole), Daniel Tutt, and volunteers from every house of worship along Embassy Row and many other faiths, the true founders of the Walk.
The first Walk Event, held in 2005, attracted over a thousand participants. The event was featured in the media worldwide including in an award winning Voice of America/Geo TV documentary shown in Pakistan to over 20 million viewers. From then on, it became an annual tradition.
The Walk has focused on a variety of themes: Gandhi, MLK, youth, service, and peace. At the 2011 Walk, participants joined the world in commemorating the tenth anniversary of September 11 with the theme, “from different walks, we serve as one.” Record numbers of people walked and 9/11 Unity Walk received unprecedented press coverage. It was mentioned on cable broadcasts, front page newspapers and websites around the world, including CNN, Washington Post, and Iranian news, as well as being picked up by Associated Press. The AP stories were syndicated in 50 newspapers in 13 states. Of the 83 photos of Sept. 11 commemorations on CNN online, four of them were from the Annual Walk Event.
Incorporated in 2008, as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, 9/11 Unity Walk has expanded beyond the Annual Walk Event to three program areas: experiential education, compassionate leadership, and intentional service. In addition to the Annual Walk Event, we sponsor educational, contemplative and networking events such as Interfaith Youth Action, Diverse Cuisines cooking workshops, interfaith concerts, community and young professional dialogues, and speaking engagements.
Governed by a hands-on Board of Directors, Unity Walk is powered by volunteers from the community who work on the Steering Committee and on various events throughout the year. Host congregations, community groups, local businesses and individuals support Unity Walk through generous in-kind and financial donations.
Volunteers and donors make it possible for Unity Walk to create opportunities for collaborative and cooperative action and understanding between diverse groups of people. It is because of them that Unity Walk builds bridges of understanding and respect, highlighting how we are united rather than divided by our many faiths.
In 2015 the organization announced its end encouraging everyone to seek out interfaith and service opportunities in future.