East Chattanooga reunion strives to unite community against violence
Organizers like Jumaane Lanier said it was meant to show camaraderie and unity between neighbors that they're standing together against violence in the area.
Neighbors in East Chattanooga are trying to unite the community as they push for peace in the area. They hosted a reunion at the East Chattanooga Recreation on Saturday.
Organizers like Jumaane Lanier said it was meant to be a fun day for the children in the neighborhood before they head back to school. It was also to show camaraderie and unity between neighbors that they're standing together against violence in the area.
"We all got little ones. We all got family and everything here so we want everybody to be safe. We want to be able to have our children grow up and not have to worry about other things other than just being able to go to school, get good grades, and become productive, positive citizens," Jumaane Lanier, an organizer said.
Recently, Chattanooga police said 28-year-old Jeremy Clark was gunned down on Glass Street. He was the brother of Dennis Clark who ran for a seat in the state legislature.
This was the city's 21st homicide of 2016.
"Up to this point, i hadn't actually known anyone that had been affected by this, but the violence has been all over and we just want to send a positive message out to the neighborhood that the neighborhood is safe," Annette Evans, a neighbor said.
Evans called the event a blessing to the neighborhood. She said they're important because neighbors get to meet each other and children feel comfortable playing outside.
Beyond that, Evans told Channel 3 it gives the neighborhood a chance to talk about the future.
"This area has kind of deteriorated. At one point, there were so many vibrant business here like grocery stores, banks, manufacturing, all kinds of jobs and it kind of took a dive and to me, it's making a renaissance. It's making a rebirth," Evans said.
Their hope is to build on the reunion to bring East Chattanooga back to what it once was.
"Hopefully we can just come together and weed out the violence and the crime, so we can just have more fun and relax in our neighborhoods and feel safe," Lanier said.
Organizers also handed out school supplies to all of the children and their families who were there. They hope to make the reunion an annual event.