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Women for Change to take to the streets of Carbondale

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

Nathan Colombo 
Carbondale Times 

Saturday, Sept. 9 will mark the six-month anniversary of the event that saw the formation of Women for Change Carbondale. Now, realigning their name with its purpose, they have adopted the name Women for Change, Unity in the Community.

“The name of our group is Women for Change, Unity in the Community. We expanded it,” said Organization Founder Ginger Rye. “We don’t ever want to lose our focus on what we’re doing and why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Saturday is also the date of the organization’s “Big Event,” a march through the Northeast neighborhood of Carbondale, and a coming together of the Carbondale community at Attucks Park. 

“Under the Big Event is the Unity March and the celebration in the park,” said Rye. “The theme is Unity in the Community.”

Rye hopes to develop relationships with complementary community and civic organizations to effect greater change in the Northeast neighborhood of Carbondale, as well as expand her organization’s role in service to the greater Carbondale community.

“We are lifting up the same issues and concerns that concern all of our neighborhoods,” she said. “Some of the things that we advocate for, our mission statement, we advocate for unity, for education, we advocate for beautification, clean up, preventing crime, dealing with issues that affect our neighborhood.”

The Big Event will begin at 8 a.m. at Rock Hill Baptist Church, the starting point for the march.

“Rock Hill is the oldest church, black church, in Carbondale. It’s 133 years old,” said Rye. “We start there because, historically, there were individuals that embraced change for our community. People like Reverend Lenus Turley. He was a Freedom Marcher and he advocated for helping the community … We thought that would be the best place to start because of the history in that church.”

Along the way marchers will join the initial group as they pass other places of worship along Marion and Willow Streets. Those unable to attend the march are welcome to attend the Attucks Park at about 10 a.m. when marchers reach the park.

At the end of the march, there will be a celebration at Attucks Park featuring singing, praise, and speakers to include faith leaders and local officials. There will also be free food and bounce houses for children to enjoy. 

In addition, Rye says, they’ll start the celebration with an introduction to the organization. 

“Once we march and get to the park we’ll have a short program,” she said. “The program is to introduce Women for Change, Unity in the Community.”

Rye is clear about what the organization is focused on and believes that looking beyond their immediate neighborhood will be of benefit to all of Carbondale.

“Even though we live in the Northeast neighborhood and we’re concerned about the Northeast neighborhood, this is a Carbondale community concern that we’re lifting up,” Rye said. “We’re not lifting ourselves up. We’re lifting up the issues and the concerns … They may be in another package. It may look different in another neighborhood.”

Ultimately, Rye said challenges within different neighborhoods can be better addressed by organization working together on common goals.

“A problem is a problem. Concerns are concerns … When we all come together and we make a stand we’re stronger,” Rye said.

In addition to The Big Event, Rye says that Women for Change, Unity in the Community has developed a community garden, a street awareness campaign, and is hosting smaller, monthly events designed to grow community literacy. 

“We have an “Educate and Inform” [event] where [people] come every fourth Thursday and we pull somebody that directly affects our neighborhood … We’ve had Jackson County Housing to come, we’ve had the city to come, the neighborhood services to come, police department, things that affect us.”

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For more information on The Big Event search for “The BIG Event” on Facebook events. For more information on Women for Change and what you can do to help develop Unity in the Community, attend The Big Event or one of their meetings occurring the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. Olivet Free Will Baptist Church at 409 N. Marion St.

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