With Juneteenth’s commemoration of the abolition of slavery arriving at a precipitous moment in American History, not a moment was lost in organizing celebrations, remembrances, and challenges to find solutions to 150 years of Black inequality.
Fueled also by the recent police killing of George Floyd and the worldwide racial justice movement, Juneteenth has become a commemorative holiday transformed by a cultural shift, a reckoning with the country’s legacy racial discrimination.
Chestertown rose to the occasion by hosting “We Stand-Day of Agreement” rally at Fountain Park on Friday, followed by “It’s Time For a Change” rally on Saturday during which the “Tapestry for Change” project was introduced and spontaneously woven by community members.
Friday’s rally opened with a welcome statement by Mayor Chris Cerino. John Queen, President of Bayside H.O.Y.A.S. and Chairman of the Black Union for Kent County introduced community speakers: Georgia Rickloff, Keegan Cardoza, Sarah Herron, Megan Jacquet, Gordon Wallace, Kawndrey Wilson, YVNG SWAG and included a poetry reading by Beth Dulin and a live performance by the Dell Foxx Company (the background music on this video).
The rally was sponsored by the Town of Chestertown, Bayside H.O.Y.A.S, Chestertown RiverArts, James Taylor Lynching Remembrance Coalition, Chesapeake Heartland: An African American Project.
Saturday’s “It’s Time for Change” rally at Fountain Park showcased the following Speakers: State’s Attorney Bryan DiGregory and Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver. Music by: Bob and Pam Ortiz, Yvette Hynson, Donny Live, Fredy Granillo, and Philip Dutton. A Spoken Word performance was given by Tevi Ann Swinson. The “Tapestry For Change” to celebrate Juneteenth and demand change was promoted by the Kent Cultural Alliance, and the Social Action for racial Justice presented a list of local policing reforms for the county and municipalities.
The Social Action Committee for Racial Justice has posted police reform demands presented to the Kent County Commissioners and the Town Mayor. Find them here.
John Queen offered the final challenge to the community by asking, “Are we going to go home and forget this even happened?”
This video is approximately two minutes in length