By Lauren Justice, Staff Writer—
The family-friendly, fun-filled 4th annual Glass Street Live Block party complete with games, fundraising, dance performances, and beautiful weather, drew a crowd of more than 300 people last Saturday.
Each year the event shines a spotlight on a part of town that has been rejuvenated. “It’s just to highlight all of the wonderful things that are happening around Glass Street, and highlight all the people, local food vendors, local non-profits.” Nicole Lewis, Community Relations Manager for Glass House Collective, says.
Lewis wants to tear down any stereotypes about the area.
“A lot of people have like a stigma about Glass Street; that it’s unsafe.” she says. “So that’s why we try really hard to have this block party. No police, and just to showcase that people here are capable of having a really good time without anything happening.”
The cause has enlisted a small army.
“It’s to support community organizations like Habitat, Glass St, and focusing on local businesses, helping build them up.” Walter Chapman, volunteer, says.
The most amazing aspect of the party was the sense of community it created. Everyone there had arms outreached and greeted with open hearts to make new connections in a comfortable, safe environment like most have never seen.
The kids were the star of the show for a while when they took a break from the bounce houses to get up on the outdoor stage and show off their dance moves; the opening act to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated’s Step Show performance.
“We basically wanted to come out here and support the community and make sure that everybody was seeing some successful black men.” Yancy Freeman Jr, President of the Eta Phi Chapter at UTC, says.
“So we wanted to provide that image for them while putting on a show as well.” Jordan Stone, Secretary of the Eta Phi Chapter, says.
This is a huge statement for the kids, to prove they can be successful, too. “There’s a lot of small kids out here, so we want them to see what the grown up life is like basically for college and that there’s still some fun in it, too.” Freeman Jr. says,
Civilians agree that there’s nothing better to end the work week than to surround yourself with friendly faces for a fun time and a good cause.