By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Writer

On Saturday June 18, 2022, the day before the official Juneteenth Holiday the Community Solidarity Response Network (CSRN) with the help of Omega PSI PHI Fraternity, Xi Tau Chapter of Toledo, put together a Community Health Fair at Smith Park in honor of Juneteenth. They were joined by other community organizations such as Pathways Inc. Brothers United, Real Men Ready, Early Head Start, Promedica and others.

Julian Mack of CSRN and Omega PSI PHI said, “for decades Omega PSI PHI has done screening for Prostate cancer, and we were planning the next event, and out of that discussion today’s event materialized. We decided to all work together on one big event. Today was the actualization of what happens when we all work together, it’s a dream. A dream of a safe environment where the children can play, the adults are taken care of, and our needs are meant. Over 150 people took advantage of the free health screenings today,” he said.

CSRN’s Ruth Leonard (Tallest in the center) with free bike and Air Fryers raffle winners (L-R) T’yanna Green, Jesslyn Finn, Tina Johnson, Jaylen Walker, Kylon Barrett, Jaden Fell, and Ramarion Johnson, at the Smith Park’s Juneteenth celebration.

LaSonya Jelks from Pathway Inc. Brothers United said, “We are here today to celebrate fathers because our fathers are important. We are celebrating responsible fathers for Juneteenth. Without fathers where would be? When fathers are involved with their children it makes a dramatic difference in the community. There is a lower crime rate, and it helps increase education and graduation rates. With a father, in the house, it helps our families be stronger and they know they are protected. Our program’s goal is to support fathers in Lucas County and the urban core and provide them with the resources they need to succeed. For more information give us a call at 419-242-7304,” she said.

CSRN member, Bro. Washington Mohammad of the Nation of Islam participated in the event with his son Yasin Mohammad by his side. He felt the health screenings were very important for the community. He said, “Our men need to get their prostate and colons checked for cancer so that we can move forward in a healthy way. We want to encourage the men of the community and their families to get to the doctor and check out their health, because their life may depend on it.”

Ruth Leonard CSRN member explained, “This Saturday we are giving back to the community. We are here to encourage everyone to get themselves checked out and to live and enjoy the experience of our blackness. We chose to do this on Saturday because we wanted to celebrate Juneteenth, but we did not want to overshadow Father’s Day, this Sunday, because our fathers are essential. We wanted to celebrate both days and enjoy the joy and freedom of Juneteenth without taking anything away from Father’s Day. Today, we have a raffle for free bikes or Air Fryers. All you must do to get in the raffle is participate in any of the health screenings that are being offered here today and you get a free raffle ticket. We are raffling off 24 bikes and seven Air Fryers. We want to make sure our youth have a safe and healthy summer and that the adults and parents can cook healthy foods,” she said. “I am incredibly happy with the turnout today and I am excited about all the organizations who joined us here to give back to the community. Today there was no negativity in the air, only positive vibes and I love that!”

Also at the Health Fair was Randell Parker III: Program Coordinator for ‘Real Men Ready’ he was giving away free books saying, “We are here to celebrate Juneteenth and we want to promote literacy. To us literacy matters and we are excited to be a part of this great event today. We are here today to enjoy our present freedoms and through literacy and education we can walk into our own freedom. We must also take care of our health and our wealth, then we will contribute to our total freedom and self worth.”

Richard Langford from Omega PSI PHI added, “On this day we are celebrating Juneteenth, black excellence, and black history. Out here today we see our children here, positive black role models here, fathers here, and mothers here, and we are all here celebrating black excellence. Over 300 people visited this health Fair today.”

At the Health Fair there were Prostate Screening, First Aid and CPR Training, and Narcan Training. For the children there was a Scavenger Hunt, Smoothies, and a huge Bounce House for them. There was also entertainment from Toledo’s Squad Girls United, a live DJ, and free food that was provided by Omega PSI PHI.