“We are excited to show the community that we care about them. We just want to get to the bottom line of their health and their children’s health,” said Clarence Jones, outreach director of Southside Community Health Services, one of the sponsors of the annual Hue-Man event held this year on Saturday, July 15.
The event began with a parade down Fourth Avenue that started at noon. Even though the weather was hot and muggy, Q’mmunity Mobile Health Bus, an HIV testing booth, MADDADS, Friendship Academy for Arts, Head Start and Hennepin County Child and Teen Checkups were all there with promotional items to distribute along the route.
The project got its name from a focus on dealing with healthcare crises among young and middle-aged men, primarily men of color (hue). It is a collaboration that works across sectors to reduce health disparities.
Jones told the MSR, “We have been holding this event for the last five years; we just want our community to be healthier. We have a collaboration of partners that have come together to help us understand the importance of our health from a wide perspective. We have the music, we have the food, and we have the entertainment.”
The R&B band Not Guilty and salsa band Tropical Zone had people dancing in the grass. Blue Cross Blue Shield kept the kids busy with a beanbag toss, hula-hoops and jump ropes to encourage children to be active over the summer.
Va Yang, community engagement coordinator with Blue Cross Blue Shield, said, “I am here…to help communities promote physical activities with their children. Playing with their children for 20 minutes a day is really healthy. It’s a good way to engage with your children in a healthy way.”
Parks and Recreation, said, “I want to make sure that every park worker has health care. I have worked with children with disabilities for 10 years, and I want to see more programs at the parks that cater to children with disabilities.”
French pointed out that there are hundreds of unemployed teens each summer and said he would like to increase Park Board job opportunities. He added that he considers financial health as a part of health care.
People of various races and ages came together to support initiatives that address health of men of color, exchange information, and connect to resources. The efforts paid off as families learned about preventative health activities and mingled in a positive and entertaining community setting.
For more information about Southside Community Health Services or the Hue-Man Parade and festival, go to www.southsidechs.org.
Brandi D. Phillips welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Brandi Phillips is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.