Throughout recent Harrisburg Black Lives Matter protests, activist Kevin Maxson always emphasized unity.
On Saturday, Maxson, leader of the group Voices for the Voiceless, is planning a whole festival around that theme, hoping to create a space for Harrisburg residents to talk through differences and have fun together.
“Due to the atmosphere of our society, I thought it’d be best to unify our community,” Maxson said.
The festival will be held from 12 to 8 p.m. in Reservoir Park and is open to the public. There will be speeches, poetry readings and other live entertainment, along with games and free food.
Maxson said that Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse will attend, along with other local leaders and officials.
Other themes will include anti-drug and anti-gun violence messages.
“Even though there’s tension between law enforcement and the community, also affecting the minority community is drug use and violence,” Maxson said. “If we don’t acknowledge it, it’ll get overlooked.”
He hopes to highlight minority-owned businesses in Harrisburg by having them as vendors at the Unity Festival. Voter registration information will also be available.
The momentum gained through the rallies and protests will continue to bring people together through events like the Unity Festival, Maxson believes.
“What I have done is change the narrative,” he said. “I want to keep having this conversation until we work to correct and fix it.”
The Unity Festival is on July 11 from 12 to 8 p.m. at Reservoir Park in Harrisburg. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.