Youngstown mayor says good things happen when people eat together
By William K. Alcorn
Community leaders said Tuesday’s National Night Out picnic is the kind of event that brings people together and betters relations between the residents and the police who patrol their streets.
“Great things happen when people sit down and eat together,” said Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown
Tuesday’s picnic in Wick Park, sponsored by the East Side Block Watch, was one of several National Night Out events throughout the Mahoning Valley and thousands across the nation.
The heartbeat of the East Side Block Watch-sponsored NNO is Annie Hall, who has organized the event for 22 years.
“No matter what side of town you come from, you need people like Annie Hall. She is a pusher and a doer,” said Brown.
Hundreds of people came to Wick Park on Tuesday to enjoy the free food and music, see the display of police motorcycles and to interact with police officers and fellow picnickers.
Several agencies and organizations were there to provide information and services, and the Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt truck dispensed free ice cream.
“We support this group and the work it does in the community,” said Rose Carter, head of the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods, of NNO.
“It’s important for people to come out and get acquainted and learn about the diversity in the city and how we can come to the table,” said Lauren Hawkins, ACTION project manager.
“I believe Youngstown’s time has come, but I want to see things getting accomplished,” said Andrea L. Mahone, chief executive officer and president of the Just in Time Employment Agency and community activist.
At the end of the program, law-enforcement personnel were called to the podium as a group and given a sustained round of applause and a prayer for their safety.
“Thanks. It makes us feel appreciated,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.