Around 9 years ago, the Streetball and Block Party, a staple event on Madison’s southside every summer organized by Johnny Winston Jr., suddenly stopped.
Julian Walters, a southside native, said that event was near and dear to his childhood memories.
“Not only was it great memories but it also provided an opportunity to bring the community together, establish unity, and show people what things are out there. People can network and meet everyone. It can bring people back to their roots,” he told Madison365.
Now, Walters is hoping to bring the event back.
In partnership with FOSTER of Dane County, Ju Ju’s First Annual Block Party will celebrate Black excellence on Saturday, Aug. 14, noon to 6 p.m, at Penn Park.
Walters said it will encompass those childhood favorites he remembers and even more. It will include a basketball tournament and food vendors selling fish, chicken and barbeque; a stage, a double dutch competition, bouncy house, car shows and fire trucks for kids. There will be a pop-up show with different vendors selling their merchandise and a resource tent.
“One of the focal points is the resources tent,” he said. “We are bringing different organizations who have pathways to homeownership. There is a big discrepancy and disparity in homeownership in Madison, Dane County and Wisconsin, in general.”
He expects organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Urban League of Greater Madison and Homebuyers Roundtable to be there and provide information for attendees.
Organizers also plan to give away 50 free back-to-school backpacks.
Walters, who played for the Southside Raiders and Madison Memorial Spartans before going on to join the North Carolina Central University basketball team and be on the 2019 MEAC basketball tournament champion team, said people interested in participating in the streetball tournament can contact him directly at (608) 235-5837 or [email protected].
And his biggest hope is for people to feel pride in their city, and the southside, he said.
“I hope people walk away with pride — pride in the community, pride in the Black businesses that are here, the sponsorship, the comradery and the unity that will be displayed. It will be a positive event with no negativity. This is something you can bring your family to that is reflective and friendly of all ages,” he said.