Unity sought at Juneteenth event in Georgetown

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 6/19/22

GEORGETOWN — Calls for unity; a continued effort to eradicate division; truth; and education resonated in Georgetown Saturday at this year’s Juneteenth celebration.

A parade preceded …

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Unity sought at Juneteenth event in Georgetown

Posted

GEORGETOWN — Calls for unity; a continued effort to eradicate division; truth; and education resonated in Georgetown Saturday at this year’s Juneteenth celebration.

A parade preceded presentations, proclamations, entertainment, activities and other events on the grounds of the historic Richard Allen School, one of about 80 schools built by Pierre DuPont in the 1920s to ensure quality education for Black youth throughout Delaware.

Saturday’s event celebrated the federal and state Juneteenth holiday commemorating emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. Traditionally, Juneteenth is observed on June 19. On that date in 1865 in the Civil War aftermath, slaves in Galveston,Texas, were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.

“You are here to celebrate freedom. There is one thing that we can’t have if we are free and that’s division,” said State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. “It is unity, us coming together. It doesn’t matter if we are Republicans or Democrats. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, White or Yellow. It doesn’t matter if you are a male, female, identify as something, it doesn’t matter. In order to be free, we have to be as one.”

U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del, participated in the parade and presented a $100,000 check in federal funding to jumpstart the Richard Allen Coalition’s capital campaign for the school building expansion and renovation.

“There are lots of things happening in other parts of the state, but we needed to be here. We needed to be at this place because this is a place of history. This is a place of family. This is a place of faith. It’s also a place of fun,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester.

“This is not just a momentous occasion because of what we have done, what has happened as far as slavery is concerned, but it is because of what has happened here at Richard Allen. We have come such a very long way,” said Richard Allen Coalition President Jane Hovington.

Joining the Richard Allen Coalition as hosts for Georgetown’s Juneteenth were the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Sussex Alumnae Chapter, Restoration Worship Center and Everlasting Hope Ministries.

Georgetown Town Manager Eugene Dvornick presented a proclamation from the town, which in part encourages “all citizens of our community to take time to learn what Juneteenth is about and to celebrate its history.”

“As you look around here today, you see that well roundedness taking place. It is these types of events that make us the great city and a great county and a great state,” Mr. Dvornick said.

A key to unity Rep. Blunt Rochester said is diversity.

“The group that is gathered here today is from all different backgrounds, all different perspectives. I like the theme of the unity and the theme of truth telling and storytelling. Our history is really the thing that propels us into the present and the future,” Rep. Blunt Rochester said.

Richard Allen School bears the name of a slave who drove wagon loads of salt to the Valley Forge encampment. The money he received was used to purchase his freedom.

Rep. Blunt Rochester addressed both the bitter and sweet in today’s world.

“It’s sweet that today we will kick off this incredible campaign to bring a rich history and raise it up to new level. But it’s bitter that folks are still fighting for voting rights, and housing and clean water. We still have people alive that went to this school. So it wasn’t that long ago that our schools were segregated,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester.

A number of sorority organizations marched in the parade and had booths for the community celebration.

“The hope is to show that we come in unity,” Jackee Wade, president of Gamma Alpha Rho Zeta in southern New Castle County. “We come in peace, and that we celebrate this time because it is a special time. And it is long overdue.”

“This a day of freedom for us. We are excited about being here today, to celebrate this occasion as African Americans. But not only that but for all others too, to let them know about the history of Juneteenth,” said Linda Bazemore, president of Sussex County Chapter Delta Alpha Beta Zeta.

“You are here to celebrate the right thing that happened,” said Sen. Pettyjohn.

“There is still a long way to go. There is still a lot of wounds that run very deep. But things like this, being here together, friendship, fellowship in one place in the beautiful town of Georgetown. That is how we move forward.”