What began as massive beach parties in the 70s for Black radio listeners, has now evolved into a multi-day urban think tank and resource fair for the community. Changing with the times, local activist Ben Frazier has picked up the mantle and hosted a “Come Together Day” along with the Northside Coalition to engage and enlighten the city.
Located in Lonnie Miller Park, attendees discussed everything from community ills to action steps for change. The agenda included entertainment, BBQ and grassroots on a range of topics including crime statistics, seniors and unfair housing practices.
Frazier said in the face of mounting gun violence throughout Jacksonville, he coordinated the event to essentially bring the community together. He hopes the messages for peace and nonviolence resonated with attendees.
The theme was “Stop the Violence and Increase the Peace.” Parents and supporters visited the food trucks, line danced, while the kids were entertained by bounce houses and face painting. The event also featured international jazz musician Longineu Parsons and spoken word performances by The Double Jay Kidz and Poetic Justice, Mayor of Washington Heights. Hundreds of people filled the park to enjoy a sense of community, fellowship, food, and fun.
Part II of the Come Together celebration focused on giving back with a food food giveaway at Clanzel Brown Community Center . Lines stretched down Moncrief Avenue as people waited patiently to receive free fruits, meats and vegetables. They also received free screening checkups. “We have to go to where the people are if we are working together for change. Time for fun and games is over,” said Frazier. Now it’s about galvanizing to save ourselves,”
Shown is organizer Ben Frazier at Come Together day with the Northside Coalition Kids of Jacksonville and shown at the giveaway is Ron Miles, Lisa Payne, Kario Payne, William King and Bessie Bates