New Rochelle – Elected officials, neighborhood stakeholders, community organizers, and neighborhood youth gathered at Lincoln Park Saturday, August 24th for Big Viv’s Foundation annual’s Community Unity Day. Vivian “Big Viv” Spady’s end of the summer event is a free community-wide cookout to celebrate the community and to bring people together.
“We put together Unity Day to give everyone a chance to celebrate our community and each other,” Big Viv shares with Black Westchester. “There was a lot of tension this summer and we wanted to give people a reason to forget it, enjoy each other and have fun. Life is too short for conflict. I’m so proud of my neighbors! I knew Unity Day was a success when I saw some kids who fought before playing together in the park and bouncing castle. I even watched some neighbors who argued last month laughing over plates of food.”
Viv has been doing this since 2009 with the help of local businesses and organizations.
“Black Westchester, Indivisible New Rochelle, Verizon, New Rochelle Radiology, RFW Consultants and a handful of donors gave us resources to make Unity Day possible,” Shane A. Osinloye, Secretary & Co-Founder, Big Viv’s Foundation shares with BW. “These are the events our community can have when we pool our resources. Big Viv’s gave out $3,792 worth of items of fall clothing to 49 members of the community. Our Back-To-School Clothing drive is still going strong. Anyone who wants to donate can go to paypal.me/BigVivsOrg or contact our treasurer at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also want to build brands and champion the businesses who support us. A high tide raises all ships. Imagine what we can do next year with more support!”
New Rochelle City Councilman Jared Rice praised Viv for her work in the community over the years.
“I am extremely proud of the work that Viv has been putting in for our community over the years; she is a true gem,” Councilman Rice tells Black Westchester. “Her Unity Day (which I hope becomes annual) fits in perfectly with the renaissance that is happening along the Lincoln Avenue Corridor.”
“I can’t wait to do this again next year. With only three weeks of planning, we still covered an entire corner of Lincoln Park,” Viv said. “Next year I want this to be way bigger. I want us to fill the entire park and I want to give young entrepreneurs I know an opportunity to share their hard work.”
Osinloye, a local community activist and Project Management Director, Singularity tells Black Westchester he is proud of what Unity Day do for the community.
“I’m thankful to Viv for letting me be a part of Big Viv’s. She’s been doing events like this for a decade and I’ve seen first-hand that all she cares about is her community, especially the kids. A lot of us say we’re activists, but it’s great working with someone who shows results.”
Even though Unity Day is over Viv doesn’t stop she is already working on Thanksgiving and Christmas events as well as next years Unity Day.
‘Every business and sponsor that wants to work with Big Viv’s should contact Secretary@BigVivs.org,” Viv shares in closing. “We need donations to prepare for fall events and get winter coats for the kids before it gets cold. We have events for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we want our youth to get there in good health.”