JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)—-In the heart of South Jackson, dozens of small businesses and organizations brought the Elnora Moorman Plaza to life today.
It’s all part of a summer series ready to unite and celebrate the black community.
“Jackson’s South Side community really needs hope culture and life,” said Community Leader Hakim Crampton.
Crampton’s grew up in Jackson. He’s seen the financial struggle of his neighbors living just a few blocks from this park.
“Over half our residents on the south side are living in poverty.”
But he’s says having events like today’s, where more than 35 black-owned businesses filled the park shows a positive change is coming.
“I really do. I think that there’s been enough momentum that Jackson is really on the rise. And we got a lot to go. There’s a lot of room for progress, but we are growing.”
Others call it a breakthrough, showing what is possible on the south side of Jackson.
“Look what we can do. If we come together there’s nothing that we can’t achieve. We’ve seen businesses start here and become successful throughout the whole year,” said Community Advocate, Justin Counts.
It’s businesses like Daniel Mahoney and his family’s smoothie shop that just opened within the past year. He says it’s been the support he’s seen from others that inspires him.
“The support is tremendous, if you are not being supported by the community, the vendors themselves are walking around and supporting each other and that was just a heartfelt thing to see,” said Mahoney.
Crampton says he wants today’s celebration to continue to move his community forward, and away from the violence and poverty that’s hindered his neighborhood.
“Our lives should matter to us more than anything, and so for us to come together in positivity and celebration of life and culture, supporting each other. That’s what it is to have a life that we celebrate, that we value in this community.”
There are still three events left in the series with the next one happening on June 19th.