At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement last year, and as the rhetoric of the presidential campaign heated up, unity was hard to come by. Across the country, division became more evident in a turbulent time. But communities such as Elmont sought to find ways promote positive discussion among disparate groups, and that’s what took place during its inaugural Unity in the Community Day last Saturday at Dutch Broadway Park.
Many organizations, including Church of the Harvest, Men of Elmont and Elmont Strong, marched alongside members of both the police and fire departments. Arm in arm, community members aimed to show others the true meaning of unity. The daylong event attracted a crowd estimated at 150.
“This is what Nassau is all about,” County Executive Laura Curran said. “The first Unity in the Community parade brought together the Elmont community and the Nassau County Police Department for a day of fun, food and networking with local organizations.”
The day promised attendees plenty of fun, in the form of raffles, musical performances, miniature golf and home-cooked hamburgers and hot dogs. Many agreed that the event gave them a much-needed sense of community.
The original plan was for the event to be held at Elmont Memorial High School. Raymond Ramos, one of its organizers, was left scrambling to regroup with fellow coordinators after finding out that a permit had been denied at the last minute. The Town of North Hempstead eventually gave the organizers a permit to use Dutch Broadway Park.
“The Sewanhaka Central High School District can confirm it received a permit request to host the Unity in the Community Day event,” Sewanhaka Superintendent James Grossane said in a statement. “However, the organizer for the event failed to fully comply with all the requirements to secure the permit in time. Our fields are a great source of pride and are available for use by community organizations who apply and meet all requirements set forth in our policies.”
“My wish is to move forward,” Ramos told the Herald. “Our event was a successful one, despite the many challenges. The community was happy to see the event happen, [and] we look forward to a bigger and better one next year.”
Ramos has already begun asking participants how the event can be improved. He used Google Form to solicit attendees’ suggestions for additions to next year’s event. Some of the most common were about getting local businesses involved. Other suggestions included holding a barbeque, small workshops and sporting events to get both adults and children involved.
“My hope is that we can come to the table and discuss it and move forward,” Ramos said, “so that the event can continue and that everyone can take part.”