Martrice Garner: Event a chance to bring Lima back together

It’s time to end hate and division in Lima.

That’s the reason why we’re holding “Unity in the Community: Mending the Gaps” from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Cook Park, at the corner of Prospect and Michael avenues in Lima. We are asking everyone to participate — any business, all churches no matter what religion, fellow bikers . We would like everyone who feels it’s time to end hate and division in our city.

I felt Lima needed something like this. I’ve sat back and watched too long how there is racism and division within the people of this community and in certain establishments. There is a major disconnect within law enforcement when it comes to this community. I had an idea of trying to bring everyone together — boys, girls, parents, organizations, law enforcement, etc. With the kids in the city of Lima, they are all our future.

While having this ideal thinking of how I could bring it all together, I saw that the newly appointed councilman, Thomas Jones, had a passion not just for his ward but for the City of Lima. I contacted him, and he jumped right on board. We have worked hard trying to bring a city that’s growing and thriving closer together.

We first asked all law enforcement and public safety figures to be a part of this event. We feel that if law enforcement took time and effort to actually know the residents in that neighborhood they patrol, it would make some feel comfortable, It also would begin to erase the stigma put on certain kids in certain neighborhoods.

I remember growing up, officers actually got out of their vehicles and talked to the public. Some walked the streets. Some knew kids and parents on a first or last-name basis. We also want kids to know that officers have a job and a duty to uphold if you break the law. However, their intentions are not to provoke citizens nor disrespect them.

We secondly know that a lot starts within the home, so we wanted to reach out to several organizations that provide services that may have not been known to you or your family. These informational vendors decided to come out and share with you services they offer that may be able to help you and your family with employment, education and physical or mental health needs.

I have seen Lima grow. I look forward to seeing other areas of Lima grow. We want all our parks to be filled with kids of all nationalities playing together. However, that can’t happen if in 2024 they see adults not coming together, throwing old garbage out the window, shaking hands and apologizing. It starts with us and what we say to our children and how we teach them.

We have reached out to several organizations. We greatly appreciate those who cared about the City of Lima and the people in it. We appreciate these organizations not asking who will be there attending but just saying, “Yes, we understand your vision, and we would like to help.”

For those we didn’t contact, we apologize. We ourselves do not know everything, however we tried. We do plan to have this every year, so we hope that you will be a part of next year’s event. That’s also true for those who said no or that may have been invited but for some reason did not respond.

This is an event for the city we live in. It is our duty to help it grow and become successful. For a city to be great, every individual has a job they must do.

Martrice Garner lives in Lima. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.