'For the greater good of the community'

'For the greater good of the community'

CHAMPAIGN — One wore a Sox cap, the other the Cubs, but all was harmony at C-U Days at Douglass Park on Saturday.

It was the perfect day to hand out free school supplies as that dreaded day nears and perfect weather for family reunions.

Basketball, music, food trucks and water games helped round out a full day.

Carla Bradford was wearing the Sox cap while she gave out supplies — pens and paper, even a signup for a shoe carnival — for Champaign's Church of Apostolic Authority.

"Any time we can come together for the greater good of the community is a good thing," she said.

In the Cubs hat: husband Raymond Bradford, also a church leader.

"If I'm watching the Sox, I'm a Sox fan; if I'm watching the Cubs, I'm a Cubs fan," is how Carla described their equanimity.

But it was the same day as the white nationalist rally in Virginia, where a vehicle plowed into a group of people marching peacefully through downtown Charlottesville.

After two terms of Barack Obama as president, such racial turmoil "seems like a step back to the 1960s," Raymond Bradford added.

"We've got to keep loving, keep giving, keep coming together and keep moving forward," his wife said.

Most people manning the booths had been so busy, they'd heard nothing about Charlottesville.

They were enjoying a full day of activities and seeing old friends, as well as making new ones.

Program Coordinator Katie Hicks of the Champaign Park District estimated 3,000 people had attended the festivities, saying the sunny weather was a big help, and that large family reunions greatly swelled the numbers.

Perry Williams was only distantly related to the large family gathering not far from Douglass Park's hill, but was having a great time.

"The food trucks make everything smell really good," he said.

At the Courage Connection booth, Toronda McFarland was also handing out school supplies.

"We had a pretty good-sized box to give away," she said. Her organization provides domestic violence and homeless services. Kadeem Fuller was manning the Black Lives Matter booth, handing out candy and "listening to the community.""Politics should be about love," he said.

Windsor Road Christian Church's Chuck Dunnum was handing out school materials as well as devotional multi-media.

"It might get people started reading scripture," he said.

Real Life Families founder Christine Leeb was there to offer free resources for families. "It's a beautiful day," she said.

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