10th annual "Heal the Hood" Block Party spreads messages of unity, non-violence

NOW: 10th annual “Heal the Hood“ Block Party spreads messages of unity, non-violence

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Community leaders gathered Saturday for a safe and positive way to "dance" into Memorial Day weekend on Milwaukee's North Side.

The 10th annual "Heal the Hood" Block Party was held on West Wright Street in the Harambee neighborhood, featuring local food, music, vendors, and organizations hoping to make a change in Milwaukee.

Several community activists and organizations used the party as a way to spread a message of non-violence, and provide connections to the community.

"It demonstrates that our community can come together in a safe healthy way and enjoy culture," said Bria Grant with Milwaukee Crime Stoppers.

Grant said an event like this proves that many of the tools to move forward are right in front of us, in our own neighborhoods.

"We can heal ourselves, right? So, when we talk about 'Heal the Hood,' we have all we need in our community, and when we come together in a healthy way, we can all be whole," Grant said.

The Heal the Hood campaign was started by local activist Ajamou Butler with the purpose of bringing neighborhoods together.

"It's all good energy, it's all good energy," said Milwaukee's district 6 Alderwoman, Milele Coggs.

Alderwoman Coggs says the event has noticeably grown over the last decade.

"The first year I think it was less than fifty people, so as you can see, there are several hundred people here today. Definitely, I think people hear the message, appreciate the message, and want to participate in helping Milwaukee heal," Coggs said.

She also noted that we often see a rise in violent crimes during the summer season.

Coggs said "Heal the Hood" is a way to kick off Memorial Day weekend in a safe and positive way on Milwaukee's North Side.

"For as much as we see tragedy, not only on the streets of Milwaukee, but across the country, we oftentimes need to be reminded about the good that is there, and the people, the great people, who are willing to work to help make Milwaukee better," Coggs said.

The will to work toward progress within Milwaukee communities was echoed by Arnitta Holliman, the director of the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention.

She said activists will keep their feet on the ground all Memorial Day weekend to help keep the city safe.

"We've corralled a number of community members, over thirty community members, to hit the streets this weekend to be visible in neighborhoods like these to connect with some community members and spend some time spreading some love," Holliman said.

The event was sponsored by the Office of Violence Prevention, 414Life, Milwaukee Health and Human Services and several other organizations.

Click here for more details about the Heal the Hood campaign.

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