National Night Out 2023By Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / August 4, 2023
Communities across Greensboro gathered to celebrate on Tuesday night as part of National Night Out (NNO), an annual crime and drug prevention event sponsored locally by the Greensboro Police Department. Part of a larger national event, NNO takes place the first week in August in communities across the country.
National Night Out is designed to provide an opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Neighborhoods typically celebrate NNO with a variety of events and activities such as: block parties, cookouts, visits from local police and fire department personnel, parades, flashlight walks, contests and youth programs. This year, there were a total of 125 NNO sites across Greensboro where residents, public safety and elected officials participated in community fellowship.
The Greensboro Housing Authority hosted events at 10 different neighborhoods, including Hampton Homes.
“Part of our mission is to have a safe environment for all of our residents. Everything we do and everything we do for National Night Out is about producing opportunities for life success. This is us coming together with our communities to let them know that we are all here to support them,” said Sheneqa Imes, Greensboro Housing Authority Special Projects Manager.
The Hampton Homes block party also had participation from the N.C. A&T State University Safety Department, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Beta Nu Zeta Chapter, and LevelUp Parenting, an organization to connect parents with baby supplies. The Magnolia Chapter #23 Order of the Eastern Star were on hand to make sure attendees had pizza and snacks throughout the evening.
“The main goal for us is education. Educating the community on what resources are available to them, such as medical resources for the elderly and camps for the kids,” said Karen Rease, president of Hampton Homes and an Eastern Star member of the Magnolia Chapter 23.
“This is great because people can come together, have a good time, and can talk to the right people about bringing in the things that they need. I’m excited to be a part of this,” said volunteer Kayla Brooks, an N.C. A&T State University freshman majoring in chemical engineering.
NNO isn’t just reserved for neighborhoods. Churches also participate in the festivities, like New Zion Missionary Church on MLK Jr, Drive. The church’s event featured the N.C. CareerWorks Mobile Career Center, which brought employment resources to the community and N.C. HealthyBlue covered healthcare. Attendees were also able to cool down in the heat with cold treats from an ice cream truck, among other fun games and activities.
“We think it’s vitally important to provide opportunities for the community to come and mingle with the church. It’s about rich fellowship, it’s about people listening to each other. I noticed most of all the fellowship. Sometimes that’s just the best way to message the community and let them know that you care,” said Pastor William Wright Jr., Senior Pastor of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Rev. Amos A. Green of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church noted that historically, the Black church has been an entity that helps the community, not only those within the congregation.
“Events like this are a way to show the community that we really care. We care about their health, we care about the wellness of their children, and we care about them having fun too. It’s important for the community to see that we all have the same needs and worries. We are part of this community. What we do out in the community is just as important as what we do inside the church,” he said.