WILMINGTON — Participants made it clear that Saturday’s postponed celebration of Juneteenth is simply the first observance of what will be an annual local remembrance marking the end of slavery in the United States.
Wilmington College and several local churches partnered to present a community observance of Juneteenth at the Simon Goodman Memorial Carillon on WC’s campus.
Wilmington College President Trevor Bates spoke of the necessity for we imperfect creatures “to find our way, together.”
Brandon Ford Jr. recounted the biblical story of Joseph, and how he forgave his oppressors.
Art Brooks said it is important to teach young people the truth about the past, specifically mentioning the current push to stop using critical race theory in schools.
“The truth is truth,” said Brooks. He added that when we learn about the wrongs of the past, we then can learn from them, and become better.
One event participant said there’s something the matter with someone who wants to keep others down in an inferior status.
Rev. James Nathan of the Olive Branch United Methodist Church said many are celebrating the fact that we now celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday.
The final speaker, Cornerstone Baptist Church Pastor Byron McGee, said all people have a story to tell.
He remarked how sad it is that 11 a.m. Sunday morning worship “is yet and still” the most segregated hour of the week in America.
“I don’t get that,” said McGee.
The Wilmington pastor noted the absence of local elected officials at the community Juneteenth event.
Elected officials need to come to the Juneteenth observance, said McGee, to set an example for the citizenry to take the remembrance seriously.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.