By Lynn Jones
Most American understand the value of a good health care system. It’s essentially a life or death issue in most cases, and quality health care is often one of the prominent challenges facing low income communities.
Citizens and community-based groups are considered at the heart of democracy. One local nonprofit community group, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville Inc. (NCOJ), continues to focus on improving the well being of citizens in North Jacksonville.
Last weekend, the organization hosted their inaugural Northside Community Festival to promote health, well-being, and community fun. The event was held over the weekend at Clanzel Brown Community Center on Moncreif Rd. Attendees entered the park to a parking lot full with food trucks, vendors and support from Jacksonville Fire and Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office.
Hundreds of residents participated in health screenings, workshops and received fresh groceries from local nonprofit food banks. The festival also featured giveaways, music, a line dancing competition, games and activities for youth.
Since 2016, NCOJ has focused on the problems of social, racial, and economic injustice in the Northwest communities of Jacksonville. “We have to stand up and not accept the status quo in our neighborhoods,” said founder Ben Frazier. “Gang violence, shootings and healthcare is our focus and we will continue to stand on principals and equality.”