When we first met Rob and Reyna Mathis, they were just getting going on an idea. A new endeavor to help where help is needed called Citi Boi Corp. The idea being that they would be the point where necessities could be found. Food, clothing, shelter. All of that is there. They also went to work on helping people with things like referral services to agencies to help more, working on social justice to end racism through equity and inclusion and working to show that our differences are not all that different if we just stop and look at ourselves as humanity. The idea grabbed hold, and it's time for Northside Summer Jams.
Walker Park in North Muskegon is where you'll find the event. It gets underway at 2p on May 20th, and while it's a benefit, there's a lot more to the idea that what will come of it can be an amazing addition to the get togethers we all share all over the lakeshore. We've got plenty do do around here for sure, but as a historian to a degree of our area, it used to be a lot more and there's room for growth too while Muskegon continues it's growth both in population and in it's overall image. I remember when I first got here, there was a spreadsheet of all the beer tents I needed to put banners up at for the radio station over the summer. The list was as long as my arm. That was about 20 years ago, and while the idea of "beer tent" is still stuck in 1988, the communal gatherings did dip for a while, but there are getting to be more and more once again, and that is a good thing,
An event like Northside Summer Jams...food trucks, beverages, music, people. Tastes of BBQ from people you might not otherwise meet. Food crafters bringing specialties that you can find nowhere else. You're supporting the small business world on the largest scale. You're gathering with friends and neighbors, sharing stories and ideas. You're breaking down barriers and you're blowing off some steam which is literally impossible when you try to apply that to interacting online. You're connecting and building community. You're hearing music you might not have on your ipod, and some you might. You're in a neighborhood that feels familiar but is not your own. You're part of something larger. Isn't it great to think that a "beer tent" has grown into what it has?
All of this...at the end....circles right back to the beginning on Citi Boi Corp. The things like free personal care items, a food pantry and clothing. Maybe a storage unit with some bikes in it for kids in need? Some things to help replace items for a homeless situation? Those are all great. But....laying the foundation through community like Citi Boi is.....now that's the goal. To see it thriving. To see it growing. To see it's love in action...that's the reason for a Northside Jam. Time to celebrate on May 20th.