‘It’s a heavenly atmosphere’: Unity on Division event is Sept. 28 at Tom Watkins Park


Every year, Unity on Division organizer Steve Williams brings the event to a park in a different neighborhood in an effort to include more people and churches. (Photo: AJ Runyan/Dayspring Women’s Ministries)

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Since the 1970s, people of different races and backgrounds have been coming together, breaking bread at a barbecue joint on Division Street.

“Crosstown Barbecue filled a gap between whites and blacks because my father allowed all people to come eat,” said Steve Williams, who owns and operates Crosstown today. “I can remember people coming into my restaurant when I was a little boy, white people coming in and saying, ‘Hey, can we eat here?'”

“My dad said, ‘Yeah, come on in,'” Williams continued. “That is how it all got started. People came together on Division Street.”

With those memories in his heart and a calling from God, Williams organizes an event called Unity on Division. It’s aimed at bringing people of all races, denominations and socioeconomic backgrounds together for free food, games, gospel music and worship.

The first Unity on Division was held six years ago at Smith Park on Division Street. Every year, Williams chooses a park in a different neighborhood in an effort to bring more people and churches to the event.

For the original story shared by the Springfield News-Leader, click here:

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