Group’s work on equity inspires

Group’s work on equity inspires

Community stars at Chester I. Lewis Plaza, back row from left: Datjaeda Moore, the Rev. Michael Jobe, Heather Jobe, Darrell Pope, Miriam Bebe Kitson and Rebecca Shetler. Front row: Esmerelda Tovar-Mora and Naee Williams. (Hutchinson Community Foundation)

When the topic of racial justice roared to the forefront of our national conscious this summer, a group of Hutchinson residents who were already deeply involved in engaging and expanding these dialogues worked even harder to seize the historic moment to better their community by organizing several events this summer.

NAACP Youth registering voters at the Juneteenth celebration. (Courtesy Hutchinson NAACP)

They began with a Black Lives Matter protest organized by Naee Williams and held on the steps of the Reno County Courthouse. The event drew more than 750 people on a hot, yet empowering and uplifting, Sunday afternoon in late May. More than 100 people then turned out just a few days later at Memorial Hall for a Community Forum organized by the Hutchinson chapter of the NAACP and facilitated by Hutchinson Human Relations Officer Datjaeda Moore. The event focused on the intersections of faith and racial justice.

The Hutchinson NAACP Youth worked to bring the community a celebration commemorating the end of slavery on June 19 — Juneteenth —


which drew more than 200 people to Chester I. Lewis Plaza for food, music, performances and voter registration. And in late June, an afternoon Bridgebuilders Barbecue, aimed at strengthening the relationships between the youth and the police department, brought together around 400 adults and young people at Rice Park for food, fun and connection.

Also happening this summer has been the painting of murals at Chester I. Lewis Plaza, a project driven by Hutch in Harmony and funded in part by a Make It Greater grant. The downtown pocket park will be dedicated to the Hutchinson native and civil rights leader on July 30 in a

Children playing at the Bridgebuilders Barbecue. (Courtesy of Hutch in Harmony)

ceremony hosted by the NAACP, Hutch in Harmony and the City of Hutchinson. That event will then kick off Emancipation Day festivities, running through Aug. 1, celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation. The celebration will be hosted by Hutchinson NAACP.

Hutchinson and Reno County are truly fortunate to have such dedicated and inspiring residents working to ensure this place we call home is welcoming and just for all people, and we salute Hutchinson NAACP President Darrell Pope, Hutchinson Human Relations Officer Datjaeda Moore, Youth NAACP sponsors the Rev. Michael and Heather Jobe; and Hutch in Harmony organizers Rebecca Shetler, Miriam Bebe Kitson, Naee Williams and Esmerelda Tovar-Mora as stars who are true embodiments of the word “community.” #AdAstraStrong, #BCBSKS, #ihearthutch, #rallyrenocounty, #hutchinstrong