To promote social and emotional health during the pandemic, Jersey City resident Alika Muhammad hosted a “Live, Learn & Grow” children’s event at Gateway Park on May 27th. All of Gateway Park’s local children and numerous members of local law enforcement were invited to meet for athletics, crafts, and conversation to cultivate relationships, build trust and trust, and celebrate the persistence in a global health crisis.
Approximately 180 children and their families came out to meet the officers to exercise and play together, including public school students living in the Booker T Washington apartments and students from the nearby Beloved Charter School. Children and officials stretched, played basketball and soccer, saw ambulance vehicles working, and hands were painted as faces were covered by masks. Snacks were also served during the day.
“We don’t know if COVID is still over, so we thought about what we can do outside for families and children?” Said Mohammed. “Mental health is a big issue right now. It’s okay for people to say, ‘I’m having trouble here’ and COVID allowed that to happen. “
Muhammad helps lead the Robateau Legacy Project, a grassroots project that honors JCPD Lt. Christopher Robateau, who died suddenly in a tragic accident on January 5, 2018. The project started as FB page, the Lt. Robateau is dedicated to highlight bridge building efforts between the community and law enforcement in Jersey City and beyond.
“Robateau was about community, education and togetherness,” said Mohammed. “I remember letting the officers on 7th Street go to their specific posts just so they could speak to the neighbors in the community.”
The loss was felt not only in his family, colleagues and friends, but also in the community he served and cared for, said Muhammad, who knew Robateau well and felt that something “had to be done”, to honor his memory of good people who inspire good works through those who remember them.
The Robateau Legacy hopes to take over Gateway Park as “Robateau Park” and has applied for improvement grants and hopes to be able to hold seasonal children’s events there under the “Robateau Legacy” banner.
“When I spoke to Mrs. George at Booker T’s apartments, she was devastated when she heard the news about Lt. Robateau heard and said he would always take care of my son. This type of input from different communities was one of the main reasons for the name change for Gateway Park, ”says Muhammad.
Sponsors of the event include the Jersey City Parks Coalition, Crisis Coach Tony Perkins and the OKNOW project, JCPD Captain Benjamin Dailey and East District Commander Iris Cruz, Chief Conni Spellman and the JCFD Gong Club, Sammy Ocasio and the DPW.