EUGENE, Ore. -- Black Unity is known as the group who has been holding Black Lives Matter protests in our area for the past few months. Now, they're planning to hold several events geared towards helping our youth through the pandemic.
The group said in order to make real lasting change, you have to build relationships and work together as a community to fix problems.
Starting Sept. 25 Black Unity will be providing youth in kindergarten through 12th grade with free tutoring, one-on-one homework help and free dinner at Willamalane Park from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Black Unity Member Claire Reyna said all of these services will be free and available every Friday.
Reyna said reaching the youth in our community is a priority and with school coming up, they decided this would be the best way to do so. Reyna said a month ago, the group started doing polls to see what the community needs help with right now.
She said one of the biggest challenges for many families is giving their children the one-on-one care they're used to.
"Just hanging out with the youth, getting to know them, helping them with anything, talking with them about any issues they may be going through, and just really building relationships with the community here," Reyna said.
Reyna said Black Unity leaders will be there to listen to them and be a safe space for them during this challenging time.
"Right now, a lot of those kids are not going to have the opportunity to have their favorite teacher to be like this is what's going on, have their friends to talk about what's going on,” Reyna said.
From issues at home to their mental health during this pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement itself, she said leaders will be all ears.
By addressing issues in the community and building relationships in an authentic way, she believes this is the best way to start the conversation about change.
Black Unity is also holding a back-to-school drive Sept. 11 at Alton Baker Park. They'll hand out 200 free bags on a first-come, first served basis. The bags will be filled with school supplies for kindergartners through high-schoolers. Plus school board members and youth speakers will be there to give students a platform and a safe space to get ready for school.
If you can't make the drive, Reyna said you should reach out to a member to save you a bag.
Black Unity is using donations from the community to put on these events and encourages anyone who needs the extra boost to show up.
Reyna said the group plans on holding these types of events for a while and expanding what they're able to offer in the future.
"Black lives are always going to matter so we're going to keep doing this in every way possible," Reyna said.