Saturday at Metea Valley High School, local businesses, cultural organizations, and police chiefs set up and discussed their work at Unity Partnership’s Backyard Party.
The nonprofit, which started in 2016, works to build positive relationships between law enforcement and civilians.
“That if you’re not at the table to sit down and discuss you’re differences and to sit down and try to lessen the tension in your community as law enforcement, as civilians, then it would be a lost cause and we would remain in the same state. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that the DuPage County and Kane County police officers, the State’s Attorney’s Office, and the County Boards are coming together to sit down and help us to become successful,” said Regina Brent, the president and founder of Unity Partnership.
And the day’s party was certainly a success with food, sports, and music all afternoon.
Law enforcement also enjoyed talking to civilians in the casual setting.
“I think people are happy that we’re here,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney, Bob Berlin. “On the other hand, law enforcement is always happy to see different people from the community. It’s a great chance to say hello, talk to people, and answer questions that they otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to ask.”
Metea Valley grad, Marquell Oliver, has been with Unity Partnership from the start, and was the first to have the idea to get young people and teens involved.
“I’m hoping to continue this moving forward, not just here at Metea but everywhere, that we can do it in the area,” said Oliver. “We only get better if we work together, live together, laugh together, love together. So I’m taking that motto with me wherever I go.”
Unity Partnership’s Backyard Party was held in honor of Ronald Allen, a community activist from Naperville who helped found the organization. Allen was killed by a stray bullet in 2016 on the west side of Chicago.
Allen’s message lives on, as Unity Partnership continues to create positive relationships between police and civilians and erase negative stereotypes together.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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