CAMBRIDGE — The Third Annual Day of Resilience on Sept. 11 will commemorate the theme, “Honoring our Ancestors by Reconnecting with Our Roots,” and feature Ambassador Sidique Wai of Sierra Leone as the keynote speaker during a Town Hall Meeting on Africa.
The event will begin with a remembrance and libations at Long Wharf, followed by a procession up High Street, ceremony at the Dorchester County Courthouse, town hall meeting, and a fashion show and jazz performance. Additional activities also are planned for the following day.
Organized by Alpha Genesis Community Development Corp., The Day of Resilience was first held in 2019 in Cambridge to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. That event received gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional citations and received the Outstanding Heritage Project Award from the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. In 2020, the observance was highlighted by the unveiling of a traveling sculpture of Harriet Tubman at the Dorchester Courthouse.
“This year’s theme, ‘Honoring our Ancestors by Reconnecting with Our Roots,’ is a hallmark statement for the citizens here in Dorchester County to emphasize the value of the role that each person holds in reconciling and honoring our past while creating for a more equitable future,” said Adrian Holmes, founder of Alpha Genesis. “Harriet Tubman was one of many who sacrificed for the freedom and liberation of our people. We all contribute to the narrative of this healing journey. Our ancestors’ sacrifice paved the way for equality for all our success. For that we are eternally grateful.”
Harriet Tubman Sculpture
Each Day of Resilience has built on the previous year’s event. This year’s commemoration also marks one year until a new, permanent Harriet Tubman sculpture is installed at the Dorchester County Courthouse, a place where enslaved ancestors were auctioned and Tubman’s niece was rescued, a statement from organizers said. Next year is the bicentennial celebration of Tubman’s birth, and the statue will be installed at the Dorchester County courthouse to mark that milestone.
“We have less than one year to complete our fundraising effort for the sculpture and we need everyone’s help,” Holmes said. “As we watch other communities’ protests and petitions to remove controversial sculptures, we as a community have an opportunity to lead by example. Our fundraising campaign, Harriet’s Journey Home, seeks to raise $250,000 to commission and install the 12-foot bronze statue. To date, we have raised $140,000 in donations and grants.”
Town Hall Meeting on Sierra Leone
The focus of the Constituency for Africa (CFA) Town Hall Meeting is “Building a model for Community Engagement in Africa: Cambridge, MD – Strengthening ties with Sierra Leone.” Ambassador Wai will be joined by other dignitaries, including Dr. Julius Garvey, Dr. Nemata Blyden and Dynast Amir, to discuss the history of Sierra Leone and how local communities can forge new relationships.
A host of related activities also are scheduled for the weekend. On Saturday, Global Sustainable Partnerships will sponsor free health screenings for COVID, diabetes and HIV. Habitat for Humanity will host a community visioning session for the revitalization of the Harriet Tubman mural viewing area.
Vendors will be in Cannery Way throughout Saturday. That evening, the commemoration will conclude with a time to rejoice and celebrate. There will be an outdoor fashion show at the Black Lives Matter Mural by Sierra Leone fashion designer Fatamata Koroma, followed by Jazz at the Harriet Tubman “Take My Hand” Mural with artist Reggie Upshaw.
For those who would like an extended stay, there will be a bus tour of Underground Railroad sites on Sept. 12., followed by a gospel/jazz brunch featuring Suzette Pritchett at the Harriet Tubman Mural in the afternoon.
For more information about the Day of Resilience or how to contribute to the Harriet Tubman Sculpture fundraiser, visit the Alpha Genesis website at https://alphagenesiscdc.org/
The Day of Resilience preliminary weekend schedule is as follows:
• Saturday, September 11
10:30 a.m. – Commemoration and libations at the water (Long Wharf fishing pier)
11:30 a.m. – Processional up High Street to the Dorchester County Courthouse
Noon – Day of Resilience Ceremony- Dorchester County Courthouse
1:15 p.m. – Lunch on your own at Cannery Way (vendors in Cannery Way); box lunches for dignitaries at Harriet Tubman Museum.
1:15 p.m. – Community input on Cannery Way improvements (Habitat for Humanity)
1:15 p.m. – Art show opening, Death or Liberty by Artist Sydnie Smith-Jordon
2:30 p.m. – Constituency for Africa Townhall Meeting on Africa with Ambassador Sidique Wai of Sierra Leone
5:30 p.m. – Fashion Show at the Black Lives Matter Mural (400 Block Race Street)
• Sunday, September 12
11 a.m. Underground Railroad Tour with Harriet Tubman Tours
2 p.m. – Gospel/Jazz Brunch at the Harriet Tubman Mural, featuring Suzette Pritchard
4 p.m. – End of Day