Aiken Unity Day Festival brings out more than expected - KMOV.com

Aiken Unity Day Festival brings out more than expected

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Aiken Unity Day (Source; WFXG) Aiken Unity Day (Source; WFXG)
AIKEN, SC (WFXG) -

Aiken held its first Unity Day Festival this afternoon. Law Enforcement and Community Members came together for a day of celebration and unity due to the recent tragic events in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Minnesota.

"We've been making many steps but this is sort of a leap here," says Chief Barranco, Director of Public Safety. "A lot of times the city or the government is putting something like this on, but the community put this on and we were asked to be a part of it"

With the past couple of months being a difficult time for communities and their law enforcement around the country, the city of Aiken wanted to hold an event where officials and members of the community could come out and let their voices be heard.

"I thought the message was good, it's a community united as one which is important especially in today's age where all the craziness in the world," says Aiken member, Rochele Hileman.

Event Organizer Brandon Upson had no idea this event was going to be bigger than what he pictured

"We were expecting between 300 to 500 people but as you can see around here, we ended up with 1100 people. We just ran out of registration forms, so we had to print some more," says Upson.

He says seeing his community come together for a greater purpose means everything to him.
"The fact that everybody in the community came with the same spirit of unity and wanting to come together, together, black, white, brown, yellow, everybody's out here, it's just heartfelt and I'm overwhelmed," he explains.

And the law enforcement says they will continue to listen to the community and find ways to improve the city of Aiken.

"We're very fortunate here in Aiken to have a positive relationship in our community, I think this takes it to another level," says Barranco.

After today's major turnout, there are plans already being made for a 2nd unity day festival for next year.

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