Ypsi to host L.O.V.E. is the Answer Day, joining international movement

An event called L.O.V.E. is the Answer Day, featuring a community art project, food, music, and wellness clinics, is set for 2-6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17 at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti.

Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Richardson says the event is just one part of a global movement that grew out of a documentary film called "Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. is the Answer." Richardson says the film, based on filmmaker A.J. Ali's experience of being stopped by police while walking in his own neighborhood, "covers police-community relations, aimed at fostering community policing." She notes that Ypsilanti was the first municipality in the country to buy a lifetime licensing agreement for the film so the city can show it repeatedly to various community groups. 

Various communities across America, in addition to several in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean, are celebrating Sept. 17 by hosting local L.O.V.E. is the Answer events or attending a virtual Zoom session. These events promote the theme of the acronym L.O.V.E.: Learning about others, Opening our hearts to them, Volunteering to be part of the solution in their life, and Empowering others to do the same. 

The Ypsilanti event will be preceded by a showing of "Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. is the Answer" at Frog Island Park at 8 p.m. on Sept. 16, sponsored by the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority as part of its outdoor movie series.

The main event on Sept. 17 will include free food, COVID-19 screening, and vaccinations. Richardson says she hopes many community agencies will also set up a table during the event.

"It's a health and wellness event, too," Richardson says. "The focus is on the community coming together and expressing love in our own way."

The event will also serve as an opportunity for community members to help paint a banner to be displayed at the Riverside Park gazebo and later at various locations around town.

Richardson says Ali called for permanent murals to be created in municipalities that sponsor a L.O.V.E. is the Answer Day, but city staff couldn't find a suitable spot downtown for a mural. Instead, a portable banner with handprints and signatures or initials of those who help co-create the artwork will be displayed at the gazebo at Riverside Park. Community nonprofits or businesses can inquire with city council members about displaying the banner at their locations around town after Friday's event.

For more on "Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. is the Answer," see our previous coverage here. Learn more about the global L.O.V.E. is the Answer Day here.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.
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