Family and friends turn out at Bridgeton Unity Day celebration at Bridgeton City Park on Sunday, Aug. 15. Photo by Albert D. Dawkins
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
BRIDGETON â€“ John Fuqua called Bridgeton’s Unity Day on Sunday “a beautiful thing,” as families and friends from across the city gathered at Bridgeton City Park and celebrated in fellowship with music, food and games.
The only thing that was “mean” was the spade tournament, Fuqua joked.
The summer gathering, the third organized by Fuqua’s nonprofit Life Worth Living and Mel Malik Williams‘ 856 Love Inc. was meant to give those living in Bridgeton a chance to come together in peace and love.
“There were no fights and no arguments, except maybe at the spades table,” Fuqua told Front Runner New Jersey this week. “The take home was that African Americans can party together and it not end up in a fight or melee. We had children and grandmothers out there, ages 8 to 80.”
About 400 people enjoyed free food, including fried catfish and Ricky Strickland’s “sexy corn,” Fuqua said.
“Kids got to see that we can come together in unity and it didn’t have to be a rally or a march,” Fuqua said. “We were able to break bread together like our ancestors did and that’s what it was all about. They all loved it and everyone seemed to be very grateful.”
Fuqua said he was especially please being recognized this week by Bridgeton City Council, particularly council members James Curtis Edwards and Marian King, who attended the festivities.
“It was really nice to be recognize by city council,” Fuqua, a Bridgeton native said. “We did something here that didn’t cost the city a single dollar.”
Fuqua said he hopes to continue the positive momentum in Bridgeton on Aug. 27 during the Youth vs. Drugs youth basketball games between Life Worth Living and the nonprofit Positive Vibes with J.T. Burks for age groups 12-14 and 15-and-over.
Then, on Columbus Day in October, Life Worth Living will hold its annual Boys to Men Let’s Talk About It event at the Union Baptist Temple’s ALMS Center in Bridgeton from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We will have young men with mentors, keynote speakers and breakout sessions,” Fuqua said. “We’re going to have conversations about life. We’ll feed them breakfast and lunch. We will have real-life role models for them. We will have about 100 young people. We will have some restrictions with COVID-19 but we’re pushing it forward.
Bridgeton Unity Day was yet another example of how leaders like Fuqua continues to push Bridgeton and Cumberland County forward.
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