One CHA Fest brings the city together in a start to achieve equity

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Chattanooga isn’t all about crime, or negative publicity.

The past years in the city allowed for Mayor Tim Kelly to acknowledge that there were two Chattanoogas: the haves and the have-nots.

He and City Council have done things to help achieve equity within the city’s neighborhoods, and you could see that in today’s One CHA Fest.

It is a small welcome sign, but it holds weight.

Welcome to Chattanooga, where everyone is welcome, despite the conflicts you may see from the city in nationwide news.

Bailey Gibson, the Community Forward School Coordinator for the city says, “In Chattanooga, it’s been a rough two, three years for just Americans in general. But, for Chattanoogans, specifically, we face … there’s all kinds of different neighborhoods that surround us, even in the park we’re standing in right now. Lots of conflict, and different things that happen that make day-to-day living difficult sometimes, and, so I think because we live here, we all breathe the same air, we want to make it a priority to be together and to be unified and to stand together and to fight things together, but also to have fun. That’s really what today is about.”

Andrew Taylor, or Drew, as he normally is called, is an artist. He and his friend, Malcolm, decided to paint a table showing several of Chattanooga’s monuments. The idea is to have seats around it, leaving one always empty so anyone can join.

He equates the city’s conflict like the game of Jenga.

“Normally, when you play Jenga, you pull the blocks just to see how long you can stay stable and eveything, but think about that as people. Like, how long have we felt unstable or haven’t felt right, and, really, that’s the balance that we need to make everything better in the city and overall in the world.”

The One CHA Fest isn’t the beginning of the city going from two divided parts to one, but it is a way for people to see that the city is growing on a number of levels.

Jaleesa Brumfield, the Community Forward Program Coordinator for the city says, “Everyone can thrive. We wanted to put together a variety of entertainment to show that people are thriving. We are moving forward (in Chattanooga), but it takes things like this to do that.”

Taylor: “I actually see diversity. I see families. I see caring. I see people interacting. Really being themselves. They’re free. So, it’s like that energy and that essence that you feel, I want you to basically spread that.”

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News