Purpose of the Park
The park is to be an oasis of hope where past achievements for social justice are recognized and current struggles are revealed. The park is open to all, regardless of beliefs and views, who are willing to offer open minds to seek understanding of diverse interests and values and to promote the common good. It is to be a safe haven for those feeling oppressed as well as a starting point for all to build the path to a better future.
The park is dedicated to the memory of Rev. Dr. Washington Gladden, a Columbus community leader with a national following. Gladden was viewed as the father of the Social Gospel Movement in the early 1900’s. Gladden was a staunch advocate for social justice in terms of civil rights, workers’ rights, voting rights, religious pluralism, school integration, and the needs of the poor and oppressed.
The First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ of Columbus, Ohio serves as a sponsor of the park, reflecting its commitment to social justice as a principle of its faith. As part of its commitment to support the community and serve others, the church has dedicated 18,000 square feet of its property for use by the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park, and has provided leadership and financial support for the park’s development.