San Diego city schools artist Eddie Edwards hopes 1,000 or more Southeast San Diego residents will march with him Saturday in a community effort to fight drugs and crime.
Edwards is best known for the large mural of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that he painted in 1989, together with King Elementary School students, to impress upon students that there is hope beyond the many drug deals that take place in the neighborhood.
Now, he has canvassed residents of the area seeking supporters to join the march as a first step toward longer-range moves to stem violence, such as setting up an area-wide Neighborhood Watch program in the Southeast.
"People feel that their neighborhood has been totally taken over, and we've got to go back and claim our community, such as having foot patrols around the school for a start," said Edwards, who has subsisted on water, lemon juice and honey for the past 38 days as his own personal statement on the state of the neighborhood. He will end his fast Saturday, he said. Although Edwards has dropped 25 pounds from his previous weight of 200, he said he feels fine, having spent most of his time walking door to door, attempting to persuade Southeast residents to participate in his crusade.
Edwards said that several community agencies, along with representatives of the Police Department and school district, have agreed to join the march. It will begin at 10 a.m. on the King Elementary School grounds and proceed in a circular fashion south on 32nd Street to Imperial Avenue, west on Imperial to 30th Street, south along 30th Street to Ocean View Boulevard, west on Ocean View to 25th Street, north on 25th to Imperial, east on Imperial to 28th Street, north on 28th to Island Avenue and east on Island back to the school.
Any funds raised through the march will be donated to Palavra Tree Inc., a neighborhood recovery center for alcohol and drug users, Edwards said.