Today is National Night Out, a nationwide community-building campaign hosted annually for 36 years in 16,000 communities (and in 61 cities in Iowa) that “enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community,” according to its sponsor, National Association of Town Watch (NATW).
In Waterloo, National Night Out events will be offered by the Gates Park Neighborhood Association, Greenbrier Neighborhood Association, Edison Neighborhood Association, and Liberty Park Neighborhood Association.
While companies have sponsored these National Night Out events, Theresa Greenfield is the only candidate currently running for office who is supporting the event financially.
Terrance Hollingsworth of Waterloo emphasized that Greenfield’s engagement—both financially and interacting with people—is significant, as it has been a struggle to get candidates to come to Waterloo and engage at the grassroots level with Black and other minority communities. Greenfield attended the annual Focus on Diabetes event and spent half a day with Hollingsworth afterwards, visiting Los Reyes, a Latinx community, and the heart of the Black community on East 4th Street, discussing economic development and what that looks like and talking to residents.
Hollingsworth thinks that’s important because “ultimately, what we’re looking for is when these candidates get into Congress, are they going to compromise and are they going to think about Waterloo in the same way they think about, let’s say, rural Iowa and all these other places. It’s frustrating to hear these candidates talk about rural Iowa and never talk about the urban cities that drive the economy.”
“I’m proud that our campaign is helping sponsor National Night Out events in local neighborhoods in Waterloo,” said Greenfield. “It’s an important opportunity to come together, build stronger community relationships and focus on the fact that too many Black Iowans have faced social and economic challenges and unjust treatment for generations. I firmly believe the time has come to take concrete actions to address the racial disparities in policing, housing, health care, education, employment, infrastructure and economic development, and so much more, while partnering with our local law enforcement officials.”
Due to COVID-19, this year’s National Night Out event will be a little different.
“Thanks to Felicia [Smith Nalls] for organizing this through, with, the neighborhood associations,” said Sharon Juon, Waterloo City Council member. “It’s been fun in years past and city council has traveled around visiting all the neighborhood associations as they celebrate this night. We’re not doing that this year because of the virus, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t ask that everyone support this, it’s a great event. So thank you to everyone that participates. “
Here some of the neighborhoods hosting events October 6, 2020 – October 24, 2020. (Masks and social distancing required)
Gates Neighborhood Association, October 6, 2020, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Gates Park. Mayor Quentin Hart, Felicia Smith Nalls, Chief Joel Fitzgerald, and the local police officer assigned to Gates Park will speak during the first 45 minutes, after which there will be a DJ as community members and partners get acquainted. Food and drinks will be provided.
“I’m raising a young child in this neighborhood and I’m personally invested because I want to have a safe area for my son and my family,” said Cam Campbell, who helped organize the event. “My son wants to ride his bike around the neighborhood and play at the park, and I feel more comfortable with him doing that if I have some type of relationship with my neighbors.”
Greenbriar Neighborhood Association, October 6, 2020, 6:00 PM. Waterloo Fire Rescue, Waterloo Police Department, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office (and K-9), and Mayor Quentin Hart will be in a parade which will start at the school parking lot on Oakwood Drive and loop around Greenbriar Road to Candlewick Road to Wakonda Drive. Contact Sarah Topliff at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Edison Neighborhood Association, October 10, 2020, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM at the old Edison Elementary School location at the corner of Falls Avenue and Evergreen Avenue. Event will be like a backyard BBQ. Steamboat Springs Restaurant will provide free hot dogs and chips while Fat Cup will offer free coffee. Dreamers Studio also contributed financially to the event. Community members are encouraged to bring their favorite yard game, grab something to eat, play games and visit.
Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association, October 24, 2020, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM at Hammond Avenue Brethren Church Parking Lot, 1604 Hammond Avenue. Fall Grab and Go drive-through event will allow community members to meet LPNA’s officers and other guests, while getting a bag of goodies. Email LibertyParkNeighborhood@gmail.com for more information.
“I hope everyone enjoys National Night Out,” said Greenfield, “and these sponsorships from our campaign serve as a reminder that we’re only going to be able to make progress if we all do our part.”
by Rachelle Chase
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