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People watch rapper Tru Saint perform at a block party and fundraiser at Westside Baptist Church held to raise money for community projects to make Alton Park a better place to live on Saturday, July 9, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The fundraiser, organized by Westside Baptist Church and the Nation of Islam, was held to assist in the establishment of the Community Haven which will include a nutrition and healthy eating program, counseling, and other services.

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Alton Park host community block party and fundraiser

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To donate go to the community haven go fund me account.

Nobody has been able to lift Alton Park above the crime and poverty plaguing the inner-city community for years, so the people who work, worship and volunteer there say they will lift themselves — and on Saturday they celebrated while doing it.

"We've been waiting for leaders to do things. We've voted people in and nothing has come of it," said Charlotte S. Williams. "So what we're doing is deciding we're going to come together in unity and do something out of our own pockets."

Williams, pastor of Eastdale Village Community Church, stood with local Nation of Islam leader Kevin Muhammad and Westside Baptist Church pastor Timothy Careathers as they hosted the Heaven on Hughes fundraiser and block party.

Muhammad said he wanted to set an atmosphere for unity and fun.

Music filled the air as local artists sang. Children and adults ran in relay races and got their faces painted while others enjoyed fellowship and food.

Williams said Alton Park is the first community where Muhammad led an interfaith effort to stop violence and promote community improvement.

If the program works in Alton Park, she wants him to help implement a similar initiative in Eastdale.

The ministers raised resources to renovate a house at 4025 Hughes Ave. to be headquarters for 10,000 Fearless, a local program aimed at bringing peace and progress to the neighborhood.

One of the city's 20 homicides this year happened in Alton Park, when 26-year-old Orlandas Gay was shot several times after getting into a fistfight.

The building will house a conflict resolution center, along with programs on fitness, food and nutrition and a clothing center. The house also will include tutoring and after-school programs.

The owner of the home donated it to help the community. Muhammad attracted skilled professionals who volunteered their labor for the electrical work and roofing. The group is raising money to complete plumbing in the house.

Mohammad said he'd like to open the Haven House in August.

The 10,000 Fearless group springs out of a call by Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan for fearless black men and women to volunteer their efforts to make black communities safe.

Men who love their people are needed to set up conflict resolution centers, encourage peace and resolve conflicts that lead to violence, according to the Final Call, the Nation of Islam monthly newspaper.

The group wants to restore peace and safety to Alton Park and it is asking the community to assist with raising funds, said Muhammad.

"The goal is to raise funds for our project, Haven on Hughes, and for the community to come and have fun in a safe environment," he said. "That's important because we don't do that any more."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

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