Local organization One People will be holding a meeting on Jan. 25 with the aim of reaching out and bringing the community together.
One People founder Richard Jackson said he and others established the group last year when he felt that members of the black community in Delaware were “out of the loop.”
“We have a very vibrant and meaningful black community in Delaware, but since they do not avail themselves to anything the city has to offer its citizens, they are kind of by themselves and their presence isn’t felt,” Jackson said. “For example, all you have to do is visit our downtown area. Members of the black community just aren’t there, for a variety of reasons. They don’t own any of the businesses downtown, they aren’t employed by any of the businesses downtown and as a general rule they don’t shop at any of the businesses downtown.”
Jackson said he doesn’t believe members of the black community are adequately represented in local organizations or government.
“They don’t join any of the organizations that generate the kind of movement that Delaware needs, places like Kiwanis,” Jackson said. “They do not join and they do not have any representation in city government. There’s no member of the black community that’s on the council and their presence isn’t felt on the city manager’s staff. We would like to change that.”
According to Jackson, the mission statement of the organization is “To unite all citizens of Delaware as One People working together to strengthen our community,”
Jackson said One People has reached out to all the local black churches to learn and create relationships.
“In meeting with them, we have run into incredible hospitality,” Jackson said. “We’ve formed friendships, experienced love, support; we’ve met with the congregations and we’ve had meetings with the pastors of the churches. It’s been quite an experience.”
Jackson said One People holds a meeting every month and said the next meeting is on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at 270 West Fountain Avenue. At the meeting, One People will discuss Ohio Wesleyan University’s Bishop Backers Community Day on Feb. 17 and will discuss cooking and serving food at Andrews House on March 9.
“Our goal right now is to get the members of the black community more involved in the activities of Delaware, Ohio,” Jackson said. “I think it’s a very worthy cause. We’ve got this group of citizens of Delaware who seem to be out of the loop as citizens of Delaware. They are a very important and necessary group. They are our fellow citizens and I think they would really appreciate more involvement. That’s the story we’ve been getting from the churches.”
Jackson said One People was a name that seemed to fit the organization.
“It best describes us in Delaware; we are One People,” Jackson said. “We’re kind of learning our way through this to see how we can develop support and so far our relationship with the black churches has been outstanding.”
Jackson said he can be reached at 740-362-6080 with any questions.
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903. Follow him on Twitter @BattishillDG.