Organizers of Sandfield Community Day hope to create an annual fun and informative event that will help identify and address problems that cause violence in Columbus.
The event, which will also feature a back-to-school drive, will be held Saturday at 2219 Bell Ave. S. Activities kick off with kids events from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and Bonding Us Again from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
The community day will feature jumpers, music, games and free food, said event organizer Anthony “Taystacks” Walker.
Performances by Bigg Tone, Zacarias Washington, Mckenzie Ellis and MC Rick “Don’t Go” Mason are scheduled.
“I’m still planning things, keeping in mind what I would have liked to have seen when I was coming up,” Walker said. “I am hoping for it to be fun. I want it to be more of an inspiring event, not just a community event where you have a good time, eat and dance. I hope it will be like a unity thing, where everyone learns to work together and help build up this community.”
As part of the event, Walker invited professionals to talk to the community about issues such as education, politics, and gun and domestic violence. Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskins is scheduled to be the guest speaker.
“We have recently seen a high volume of gun violence and murders from domestic violence in Columbus,” Walker said. “I want to shine a light to make people aware of the issues and learn how to identify and address them.”
The back to school drive will also have a dual purpose.
“With the school drive, we wanted to make sure the kids were ready for school,” he said. “We also want to talk to them about issues they may have at school, such as bullying. We want them to know how to deal with bullying, how to report bullying if they’re a victim and how to report it if they see someone else being bullied. And if the kid is a bully, have them learn that if I say this or I do this, I could be considered a bully.
“We don’t address these kinds of issues often in the community,” Walker continued.
One of the activities Walker is working on is a remote-controlled car show. They hoped to have a track ready Thursday, so kids could see the RC cars be put through their paces Saturday.
There will also be arts and crafts and a chalk walk, in which kids can draw with chalk on the ground. Walker plans to take a photo of the art from the air, so the kids can see what they created.
“I wanted to show kids other hobbies. … Not everyone is into basketball or football,” he said.
The community day is being sponsored by Sandfield Rise Up Community Organization, which Walker founded about a month ago. He said he founded it shortly after a recent spate of violence crimes involving teenagers.
“Looking at the recent violence, all the suspects were teenagers. Not any of the individuals were over the age of 21. Something is going on somewhere for this to happen,” he said.
Walker said that when he was growing up, there was little to do, so he and his friends would hang out at friends’ houses and walk in the neighborhood, not really doing anything.
“When your mind is idle, you can start to get in trouble,” he said. “I want to show kids there is something different out there.”
Response to the community day has been positive, Walker said, with various individuals and businesses contributing to the effort. Those who wish to contribute either through donations or by volunteering can contact him at 435-2630.
“I know there is going to be a good turnout,” Walker said. “This is an opportunity to create different avenues for our youths and see change. … This is a good time to try to help curb gun violence and domestic violence. Sometimes, that stuff can be avoided if the underlying issues are addressed.
“I don’t want things to get so out of hand to the point that I can’t sit on my porch or go to the mall or to the Trotter center without worrying about being the victim of violence,” he said.