Opelika to give crime, drugs a going away party
By Rebekah Martin
Opelika resident Mattie Clark and the members of the National Association of Town Watch are asking all Opelikans to turn their porch lights on and come out to participate in this year’s National Night Out event Aug. 4.
National Night Out, a movement founded in the mid 1980s, is an annual event held in cities across the nation. The event, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, was designed to be a community-building crime, drug and violence prevention campaign that advocates for and promotes community-police partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
According to www.natw.org, “National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.”
Mattie Clark, who has worked as the Opelika organizer of the National Night Out event since 2008, said she believes the event is important because it brings the community together and unites people against crime and drugs in Opelika. “It’s a night of love,” Clark said. “Opelika is full of people who want to live in harmony with one another and we aren’t going to let our city be taken over by crime. We are going to stand up against it.”
This year’s event will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. at Antioch Baptist Church, 605 W. Morton Ave. with a Unity March. The march will end at Covington Recreation Center, 213 Carver Ave., culminating with a block party. The event will feature fun-filled activities for all ages, entertainment and booths sponsored by local business and civic clubs. This is a free event, and attendees can register to win door prizes. Clark said she has worked closely with Police Chief John McEachern and OPD this year in preparing for the event. Councilwoman Patsy Jones, who represents Ward 1, said she expects a larger crowd to come out to particpate this year due to the efforts of community leaders to enage the entire city. “I think it’s always important for all of us to say that we want our people to be able to live in peace and harmony,” Jones said. “This is a day we can say ‘We are working together on this as a united front.’”
Clark, Jones and the National Night Out campaign encourages every Opelikan to join them in giving crime, violence and drugs a going away party.