On Saturday, November 9, 2019, the Flame of Hope and Earth Caravan joined the 5th annual March for Everyone held in the city center of Alkmaar, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Organized by the Discrimination Affairs Bureau in North Holland province and Mrs. Mireille Sampimon, former member of the municipality board for the Green Left party, the torchlight march and the Earth Caravan’s Flame of Hope were a perfect match.
“We created this march as a moment of connection—a moment when we are reminded of our wish for Alkmaar to be a municipality where everyone can feel at home,” said Mrs. Femke Broeze from the Discrimination Affairs Bureau. “It is a municipality where everyone can be themselves and in which everyone can take responsibility for themselves and the other. “
The collaboration with Earth Caravan and the Flame of Hope developed naturally as both organizations share the same goals—to take responsibility for the happiness of others, to embrace difference and diversity, and to stay united with others. Everyone combined their forces for the same wish: solidarity with other people.
Before the march, there was a preliminary program in the central library that included music, dance, and the introduction of the Flame of Hope. The evening began with a performance from the Alkmaar Prachtkoor (meaning ‘magnificent’ choir), composed of people with different disabilities. Wearing colorful costumes, they spread joy and light energy throughout the room.
During the song ‘Everybody Is Different,’ the choir sang:
“Everyone is different, different from the rest, and that is quite good, because if we say the same thing, then we are just like parrots, and if we imitate someone, it would get boring here.”
Afterward, the Nosso Grove and Kismet Bellydance shared a cheerful and heartfelt performance. Then it was time to introduce the Flame of Hope (Vlam van Hoop).
The core message of the Flame of Hope is:
Let’s make the common wish of humanity come true—transform all negative energy in the world into positive; and create empathy, understanding, and take care of one another.
By spreading the Flame and bringing people together beyond all borders, religions, nationalities, languages, and cultures, humanity will not be divided anymore.
The Flame of Hope was received with great enthusiasm. After the introduction, the Flame was presented to the deputy mayor of Alkmaar, Mr. Paul Verbruggen. He was so deeply connected with the flame and saw carrying it today as a great honour. He visited Nagasaki Atomic bomb museum so it was for him a very humble and emotional moment.
Then the march began in the old city center with 150 participants joining in. Mr. Verbruggen walked in the first row and carried the Flame of Hope throughout the journey, as a sign of solidarity and togetherness.
After marching for about 3 km in the city center, participants returned to the library where warm soup and sandwiches were waiting. The Prachtkoor choir performed again, followed by the Alkmaar Street Orchestra. People listened, ate sandwiches, chatted with each other, and wrote down their wishes for the world. They then added their wishes to the Flame of Hope. The entire evening was experienced as a warm moment of connection.
Afterward, the Flame of Hope shared a photo moment with the Prachtkoor choir. It was so moving to feel that the Flame touched many hearts and received much praise and encouragement to continue spreading its message.
In the eyes of many, the Flame was burning brilliantly, and numerous hearts were vibrating with emotion and gratefulness!
May many more people join this traditional march in the future to increase the feeling of togetherness in the city of Alkmaar. May the Flame of Hope continue to burn in the hearts of all Alkmaar citizens, and all human hearts, and spread further in the world!
Here are just a few of the wishes and prayers that people in Alkmaar shared with the Flame of Hope:
“I wish no more hate but only love in the world. May all people share the same right.”
“Dear citizens of Alkmaar and the whole world, we are all small lights. The light is inside us too. Let’s connect all these lights with each other!”
“May there be a world where all people treated equally, and may there be peace all over the world.”