RICHMOND, Va. -- Don't underestimate the importance of play during tough times. Richmond counselor Monica Lucas and her non-profit partners want to spread that message far and wide, after a difficult couple of weeks in Richmond.
The 2nd Unity in the Community event will take place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Westover Hills Community Center and Park.
Viewpoint Services is hosting the event, following several weeks of high-profile shootings involving young people in Central Virginia.
“We’re trying to say and send the message that it’s okay to be outside. It’s okay to be a kid. It’s okay to ride your bike and get out to have fun. We’re really trying to promote that whole idea," Lucas said.
There will be free food and giveaways for the children in attendance. All of the fun is to show children in Richmond it is still very normal and safe to play outside together.
“Just to be able to get out and play and explore the area around us. But a lot of times now, here recently, you know, it's been crowded with these thoughts that I might, I might not be safe if I go outside. So we want to send a message back," Lucas said. "We may have a few contests for the parents because we want to get them out, enjoying the fun of maybe doing a hula hoop too. So we're excited. We are so excited because we're going to turn this negativity into something positive and bring joy back to the city of Richmond.”
The DJ for last year's unity event, Brandon Robertson, was shot and killed last September.
Lucas said they plan to honor him by awarding a father in the community an award bearing Robertson's name.
"We’re just trying to turn the tragedy into triumph this weekend and really promote what’s good in our city," she said.
One day of play and fun won't change what's happened in our world of late, but Lucas said they hope the event is a step in the direction of moving toward each other, rather than pulling away.
"Love will really outweigh any of that negativity. Because we can come together as a community and be in love and unity and peace, we’re winning. We're winning for real, so come win with us," Lucas said.
Viewpoint is still trying to purchase a few more bicycles and basketballs to give to kids who attend Saturday. If you want to help out with that effort, email them directly here.
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