Current and former residents came together on Saturday at Clark Park for the annual Woodland Avenue Reunion.
The West Philadelphia event attracted people from across the country, with some traveling as far away as California to share memories with friends and acquaintances at the park that stretches between Baltimore and Woodland avenues at 43rd Street.
“I’m excited to see families that were connected before, from all over the world to come back to their neighborhood,” said Christina Williams.
Williams, a community advocate, chaplain and broadcaster on the Prime-Time Power internet radio show, says her connection to Woodland Avenue goes back quite a way.
“Actually, my life kind of circles around here,” she said. “I went to Bartram [high school] which most people in this area went to, and I married a man from Woodland Avenue, so my children and I are from here.
“It’s just become a great thing,” she added. “You don’t know the people that you know until you get here.”
X’andra’e Holmes of Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Co. was among the vendors distributing information at the community reunion
“I think the event is awesome,” she said. “I love it because there is so much going on up and down this street. I like to see our communities come together and do things, acknowledge one another and to make sure they are informed.”
Holmes said this was her first time at the reunion and planned to return next year.
Gregory Benjamin, a longtime resident of Southwest Philadelphia and ward leader, had fond things to say about the gathering.
“I think this is a commemoration of the fact that we can grow from being young people who had a lot of confusion because we didn’t understand conflict resolution,” he said.
“Now we’re all grown, we’re professionals, we’ve had the opportunity to raise families and have all kinds of responsibilities and as a result, we understand how important to be at peace with and grow with one another,” he added.
“I think this is particular day is one of the days that this community really looks forward to,” said Benjamin, who have lived in the area since 1961.
“I love the Woodland Avenue Reunion because they promote a lot of things, they promote unity and harmony,” said community advocate Paul Moore. “When I look down the street, I see that the white people are on the other side of Chester Avenue and that kind of disturbs me. It shouldn’t be that (way), it should be mixed.”