Unity in the Community

Pastor Keenan D. Hale Sr. of Saint James A.M.E. Church, J.J. Jenkins, executive director of Another Way Another Chance and Bishop Earl McCloud Jr. are hosting the "Unity in the Community" block party Saturday.

Special to the Sentinel

Local pastors are inviting citizens to come out for the first "Unity in the Community" block party Saturday.

The block party will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the neighborhoods along Forrest Avenue, Carten Street, Hollis Street, Warren Drive and the other streets on the Douglasville's northside. The alcohol-free party will include free food, live entertainment and community resource information. It will also feature a kids zone, employment opportunity materials and free clinic service.

The pastors involved in the event are Pastor Artis Crum of Salvation Outreach Church, Pastor Keenan D. Hale Sr. of Saint James A.M.E. Church, Pastor Gregory Williams of Golden Memorial United Methodist Church and Bishop Randy Parker of Greater Mount Olive Overcoming Church of God. They decided to host the party after seeing a new for the community to come together.

"Look at the world situation," Crum said. "You see the Ferguson situation, the Baltimore situation. As we look at the world today, we see problems in the world. These pastors and also the mayor (Harvey Persons) of Douglasville came together and said, 'Hey, we need to do something about this situation. We need to get ahead of the situation, get ahead of the problem."

The party will provide an opportunity for citizens, local pastors, elected officials and other community leaders to meet each other.

"Let's shake hands with the community and bring the police department in," Crum said. "Let them say, 'Hey, we are the police department. We're here to help you, not to hurt you.' That's what's its all about, bringing the community together."

He encourages the community to come out for the party.

"We're excited about this," Crum said. "We ask everybody to come out so they can be a part of this great community event."

J.J. Jenkins, executive director of Another Way Another Chance, and the youth involved in the mentoring program will be at the party. 

"There is so much negativity, but you don't hear a lot of positive news about positive things going on inside the community," he said. "That's why its so important that we go out, show the young people that you can fellowship, you can do things together without it being of a violent nature and that we have to look out for each other in order for all of us to succeed."

Jenkins stressed the importance of everybody working together.

"We're all in this together and we have to work together," he said. "There are positive things going on inside the community. There are people who are willing to help if you're willing to help yourself. Young people must be shown there are positive role models out there. There are people out there who care about you, who want to see you succeed. Also as young people, you have to learn how to coexist together."

The youth in the mentoring program will be at the event to help with cleanup.

"We're going to have your young men there to, first of all, be a presence to help clean up and also show the people in the community that these are young men who are trying to do the right thing, who are trying to make the better decisions within their lives," Jenkins said. "We're going to be out and just trying to, once again, do something positive inside the neighborhood."

Contact Amanda Thomas by email at amanda@douglascountysentinel.com or by phone at 770-942-6571 ext. 226.

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