Quality vs. Quantity in Youth Programs
The Gift of Artistic Inspiration
Getting Down to Business
Where Do We Go From Here? JULY 2020 COMPLIMENTARY
00 JANUARY 2016 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Sometimes we have to do more. This time, a lot more. Sometimes the urgency of a better future compels you to act. We are in such a moment, when a global pandemic, a cry for racial justice and a feeling of hopelessness challenge each community. In the face of this, Bank of America has committed to investing $1 billion over the next four years to build on our long-standing work to drive economic opportunity and equality in communities of color. It will power small businesses, help connect workers to new skills and job opportunities, improve medical response capacity and access to health care, and support affordable housing. This bolsters our recent commitment of an additional $100 million to support nonprofit partners and $250 million to support Community Development Financial and Minority Depository Institutions, addressing impacts from the coronavirus that disproportionately affect black and brown communities. My teammates and I here in Delaware commit to the important work that lies before all of us. We share the sense of urgency gripping the nation, and we welcome the promise of achieving great things together.
Chip Rossi Delaware Market President
To learn more, please visit bankofamerica.com/community. For Small Business Banking, contact Stacy Grady at 267.806.1382
JANUARY 2016 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. © 2020 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.
Committed to equitable advancement in our communities, we are so proud to know, work along, partner with and share in our city’s story. Together we are strong—
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2 INSIDE 2
Out & About Magazine Vol. 33 | No. 5
Published each month by TSN Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing & business address: 307 A Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
Publisher Gerald duPhily • firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Publications Jim Hunter Miller • email@example.com Contributing Editor Bob Yearick • firstname.lastname@example.org
(See page 9 for list of this month’s Guest Editors)
Creative Director & Production Manager Matthew Loeb, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Digital Services Director Michael O’Brian Contributing Designers Blair Lindley, Allanna Peck, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Contributing Writers Danielle Bouchat-Friedman Adriana Camacho-Church, Cindy Cavett, David Ferguson, Mark Fields, Pam George, Lauren Golt, Jordan Howell, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Lockman, Dillon McLaughlin, Ken Mammarella, Larry M. Morris, John Murray, Larry Nagengast, Kevin Noonan, Jeff Taylor, Leeann Wallett
Contributing Photographers Jim Coarse, Justin Heyes and Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography, Butch Comegys, Lindsay duPhily, Tim Hawk, Matthew Loeb, Matt Urban Special Projects Bev Zimmermann
Photos: Butch Comegys
IN THIS ISSUE: 7 War On Words.........................By Bob Yearick 8 Are You Listening?................By Jerry duPhily
25 Quality vs. Quantity............By Jim Miller with Jason Aviles, Cora & Fred Reed, Larry M. Morris 29 Gift of Inspiration.......By Leeann Wallett with Eunice LaFate
9 Meet Our Guest Editors 11 Where Do We Go From Here.....................By Larry M. Morris 14 America’s Racial Divide.....By Mike Purzycki 18 Getting Down to Business.....................By Ken Mammarella with Jason Aviles, Newdy Felton, Ivan Thomas
21 Getting Organized...............By Bob Yearick with Chris Johnson, Cassandra Marshall, Kenyon Wilson
33 Bridging The Gap............By Jeff Taylor 35 Tasties Soul Power............By Jim Miller 38 Truth & Reconciliation ..................By Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman 40 In The City 42 August Quarterly....By Ken Mammarella 43 Why Tubman-Garrett Park? 44 On The Riverfront
On the Cover: Painting by Eunice LaFate titled “It Takes A Village...” “I’m glad this one was picked for the cover,” says LaFate, whose art first appeared on an Out & About cover in 1993 and is one of this month’s guest editors. “We can’t get anywhere without our youth. They are our future.”
Printed on recycled paper.
Editorial & advertising info: 302.655.6483 • Fax 302.654.0569 outandaboutnow.com • email@example.com JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
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A writer/editor’s slightly snarky and relentless crusade to eliminate grammatical gaffes from our everyday communications
Compiled from the popular column in Out & About Magazine
THE WAR ON WORDS A monthly column in which we attempt, however futilely, to defend the English language against misuse and abuse
Media Watch First, a couple of head-scratchers: • From USA TODAY: “The Duchess of Sussex’s voice will appear as the narrator on the Disney nature film ‘Elephant.’” Really? Can a voice appear? • And reader Bruce Hudson submits this Wilmington News Journal headline: “Fire destroys yet-to-be-built two-story home in Ogletown.” Not sure how a house that hasn’t been built can be destroyed. Some more run-of-the-mill gaffes: • Reader Larry Kerchner submitted this from an article by Todd Perry in the online news source Upworthy, “a website dedicated to positive storytelling”: “Jimmy Carter built a solar farm in his hometown and it now powers half of the entire city.” Says Larry: “I guess that's better than half of part of the city.” • Reader Ellen Mitchell caught Mika Brzezinski in one of her many slip-ups. Speaking of Donald Trump, the Morning Joe cohost said: “He could’ve gotten everything going far more quicker.” • Sen. Chris Coons was called out by one of our regular readers for this phrase from the senator’s News Journal op-ed: “And neighbors who, like Annie and I, . . .”. Some may forget that “like” is a preposition, therefore it takes the objective case, me. • Another politician, Gov. Mario Cuomo, encountered a pronunciation problem during one of his COVID-19 updates: “Coronavirus has increased at an horrific rate.” When a word begins with h and the first syllable is strongly pronounced, you should use a. And no, the governor didn’t pronounce it “orrific.” Facebook Follies During the shelter-in-place era, I found myself spending more time than usual on Facebook. The social medium reveals America’s most telling language lapses, most of which should have been corrected in middle school. Here are just a few of the most common: • Then/than. Then, which is mainly an adverb, is usually used in relation to time – e.g., “I wake up, then I have breakfast.” It’s also used in if … then constructions, such as, “If you wake up late, then you might have to skip breakfast.” It also works as a noun meaning that time (e.g., “I wanted breakfast, but then was not a good time.”).
By Bob Yearick
Than is a conjunction used primarily in making comparisons—e.g., “My breakfast is better than yours”; “I eat breakfast faster than you do.” • A and an. See Gov. Cuomo item above. • Alright. The correct term is all right. • Can not. This is always one word – cannot. Ah, Those Iconic Icons Reader Walt DelGiorno and I have an ongoing discussion about the use of icon and iconic to describe almost anything that is a bit out-of-the-ordinary. Recently we jointly came across a couple that are especially strained: • “An iconic admission”: Fox Sports commentator Clay Travis, referring to Michael Jordan’s admission, in the ESPN documentary The Last Dance, that he actually said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” The comment was Jordan’s response when he refused to endorse a black Democrat who was opposing North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms, a known racist. Full disclosure: Travis wrote a book titled Republicans Buy Sneakers, Too: How the Left Is Ruining Sports with Politics. • “Mustang Designer’s Iconic Legacy”: headline in USA Today. Let’s remember that an icon is an object of uncritical devotion, or an emblem or symbol. Not sure how a legacy qualifies. Department of Redundancies Dept. WDEL dominates this month’s entries. • An announcer on the popular local AM station called the late Don Shula “the NFL’s most winningest coach.” Ah, the double superlative lives. • “This was pre-recorded earlier this week”: announcement before a financial advice program aired on WDEL. I guess just recording it earlier wasn’t enough. • And traffic reporter Mike Phillips came through with one of our favorites: “You are going to have to pre-plan your route.” Not enough to plan. You have to pre-plan. • Finally, actor Chris Evans (Captain America), in an Esquire interview, commented about shooting a film near his Massachusetts home: “It was certainly a little added bonus.”
Follow me on Twitter: @thewaronwords
Word of the Month
ambivert Pronounced AM-bi-vuhrt, it’s a noun meaning one having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert.
Seen a good (bad) one lately? Send your candidates to firstname.lastname@example.org
Buy The War on Words book at the Hockessin Book Shelf or by calling Out & About at 655-6483.
From The Publisher
ARE YOU LISTENING?
n Friday, June 5, I spent two hours doing something I’d never done at an Out & About editorial planning meeting. I just listened. Why? Because this meeting was a Zoom call with our freshly assembled guest editorial committee—all Black. And the conversation was illuminating. Not so much because I was introduced to a different perspective. What struck me was how the committee members always seemed to finish each other’s sentences. What I was witnessing was shared experience. And with that, I may have taken a small step toward understanding. Being Black changes everything. Our hope is that with this issue you, too, gain some understanding. Each of us is wrestling with how we respond to the wound ripped open by the murder of George Floyd. We felt this issue was the least Out & About could do. After all, Out & About is a communication vehicle that’s been around 32 years, so we have a substantial audience. And, for this message, we have the ideal readership—mostly White. As a White publisher, I can’t tell the story of being Black in Wilmington (which, as one committee member pointed out, is little different than being Black in Anytown, USA). But…Out & About can dedicate this month’s pages to people who can. I won’t lie: The damage that took place on Market Street May 30 was personally knee-buckling. My first introduction to this city was Market Street—the Halloween Loop in 1979. And, in the 30+ years I’ve spent promoting the city, Market Street has been a focal point of many of this magazine’s endeavors. I feel terrible for those business owners who suffered damage. They placed their hopes in our city. And I feel terrible for people who feel so marginalized that lashing out is their only recourse. Where do we go from here? For that answer, we need some context, and with that I introduce our guest editorial committee: Jason Aviles, Malcolm Coley, Newdy Felton, Chris Johnson, Eunice LaFate, Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, Cassandra Marshall, Larry Morris, Cora Reed, Fred Reed, Jeffrey “JT” Taylor, Ivan Thomas and Kenyon Wilson. Their professions run the gamut, from entrepreneur to community activist to media to retiree. PLEASE, read their stories. — Jerry duPhily 8 JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
CEO FLYOGI; Project Director of Wilmington Green Box; Exec. Director Wilm. Placemakers
Award-winning folk artist; Owner of LaFate Gallery
Cora & Fred Reed
Co-founders of Reeds' Refuge Center in Wilmington
ET OUR GUEST EDITORS
Elizabeth "Tizzy" Lockman
Larry M. Morris
Jeff "JT" Taylor
Head Marketing Chemist of Influencers Lab Media
Delaware State Senator, Third District
Senior Vice President for DeTv
Head Influencer, CEO of Influencers Lab Media
Wilm. Democratic Party Chair; President of Quaker Hill Neighborhood Association
Founder of DeTv; owner of BluFilms Media
Wilmington City Councilman, Seventh District
Former Wilmington NAACP President; Former Director of Community Affairs for Congressman John Carney
Co-founder of Influencers Lab Media
CHANGE IS A GIFT WHEN OPPORTUNITY IS IN OUR HANDS
LETâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S GROW TOGETHER
PARTNER WITH US Investing in Well-Being. Improving Quality of Life. Creating a Sustainable Future.
The “We Still Can’t Breathe” rally held in Wilmington on June 5, 2020 stirred a wide range of emotions. Photo: Butch Comegys
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? To move forward, White citizens should examine how we arrived at this place
Photo: Masen Price
here has never been a time in America when there has not been a race problem. There has never been a time in America when all men (or women) were created equal and there never has been a time in America when there has been liberty and justice for all. Think about that for a moment. Please. There have been endless atrocities perpetrated against Black people in America for 400 years, and it just didn’t seem to matter to the majority of its White citizens. You name it, it has been done: rape, murder, terrorist attacks, voter fraud, housing discrimination, education discrimination, etc. ►
By Larry M. Morris
JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
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Photo: Butch Comegys
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? continued from previous page
A youngster attending the “We Still Can’t Breathe” rally held in Wilmington last month shares a sentiment echoed by many since the tragic death of George Floyd.
Racism is so ingrained into the fabric of America that when you talk about it, many White Americans think you are talking about them, specifically, and are offended. In 2000, roughly 90% of U.S. Congress was White, which shows you where we were at the end of the 20th century in America: still, essentially a country that was run by White people… for White people.
Consider these facts regarding America today:
Blacks are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of Whites in this country. In a 2016 study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was shown that infant mortality rate among Blacks was more than twice that among Whites. In a study that evaluated more than 19,000 use-of-force incidents by police across the country from 2010 to 2015, the Center for Policing Equity found that police were as much as three times more likely to use force on Black civilians than they were on White civilians.
There have been many protests throughout the years about the abuse and discrimination of Black people in America. These issues have been well known. Until recently, the problem has been the appearance that the only people who have been alarmed and disturbed enough to demonstrate, protest, or even write or sing about it have been Black people. America has lost some of its clout or prestige in the eyes of some of the world because of its gross hypocrisy. We have gone all over the world telling other countries how
Photo: Butch Comegys
to treat their people while, at the same time, our history Where do we go from here? We must have real proves us to be one of the worst violators of human rights. dialog that leads to action that, in fact, makes America Even when Black soldiers returned from foreign lands, the place where all men and women are free and fighting for the freedom of this country, they did not, where liberty and justice are indeed for all. To start the dialog of healing in America we must in turn, get freedom for them or their families. We have talk about some very sensitive issues for White folks. a lot of work to do in America if we are seriously going to make this country great. We must be willing to take a It means for some people to give up the idea of White privilege. It means to live up to the wording in the closer look at the dark past. The problem has been that White people in America Constitution that, for too long in this country, was have been uncomfortable speaking about race. With the understood to only apply to Whites. Up until recently, exception of a small number, Whites have not shown the words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” has been a complete lie. they care about what was And even today, with what being done to Black people we’ve seen just this year, even though they were we know it still doesn’t ring In 2000, roughly 90% of U.S. supposedly friends, coworkers completely true, either. or teammates. The silence of Congress was White, which The good news is that good White people in America together we can change shows you where we were at is what has perpetuated the that. It can happen and it the end of the 20th century in status quo and has prevented can happen in our lifetime. America from becoming all America: still, essentially a It takes dialog. We have that it could be—or all that it to all be willing to discuss country that was run by White says it is. issues that are sensitive people… for White people. In most cases across and difficult but necessary. America, White boys and This country could truly girls in preschool and be great for everyone—and elementary school get along could truly be the greatest just fine with similar-age Black boys and girls. You see, country on earth—but it is not that now and it never has if you just leave children alone, hatred and prejudice does been. Maybe in some eyes it has, but not for 13% of the not register. But later, as these children grow older, the population that is Black. In order for our leadership to stop playing games, enjoyment of White privilege creates boundaries where there was once pure, natural love and affection for the those of us who know how things are supposed to run human beings. Consciously or unconsciously, it becomes have to become leaders. Voters must be educated to the advantageous for Whites to separate themselves—or to point where they are not manipulated during political allow themselves to be separated—and not take stands on campaigns or on Election Day. We must elect more people of integrity who are open and sensitive to making racial injustice that affects all the people. In addressing race, from my perspective, there appears America great for everyone. The solution is near. The time is now. Blacks in to be three categories of White people in America: those who are out-and-out racist; those who aren’t racist, but America aren’t going anywhere. We love this country and have proven it over and over again. America was built enjoy white privilege and therefore do very little about on the backs of the free labor of our ancestors. We have the systematic injustices all around them; and then there fought in wars to defend America; we have been trusting are the good White people, who are as upset about racial in the courts and in the Constitution; we have tried to pull conditions as Blacks. ourselves up by our boot-straps until we realized we were If America has any chance of changing the way it not given any boots. does business regarding race in this country, we must We have done everything America has asked us to do hear from that “middle group.” That group can no and we are wondering when America is going to live up longer stand in the middle of the road. (By the way, to to its own promises. The Time is Now! those Whites who say they don’t see color or they are — Larry M. Morris has served the Wilmington community, for several not prejudiced or they are not racist, but do nothing decades, in a variety of ways that have included: directing youth to change the conditions set by those who are: You are programs, former President of the Wilmington NAACP and former very much part of the problem.) Director of Community Affairs for Congressman John Carney. JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
WILMINGTON MAYOR MIKE PURZYCKI SPEAKS OUT
ON AMERICA’S RACIAL DIVIDE
ince the demonstration and the violence that ensued [on May 30], I have received many emails either condemning our weak police response to the lawbreaking or congratulating us and our police on the restraint that was shown. In the end, I believe we made the correct choice to exercise restraint. Although some businesses took the brunt of the mayhem, most of the damage was relatively limited. No one was injured. The raw anger directed against the police was not enflamed. This is not to excuse the criminal behavior of those who broke the law. There will still be prosecutions. It is right, however, to be respectful of those whose motives were honest and whose hurt was real.
Today America is facing a well-deserved reckoning with its past. Our country has rationalized and compartmentalized the condition of Black America for far too long. The remorseless killings of Ahmed Aubrey in Georgia and then George Floyd in Minneapolis have exposed for all to see the underlying cracks in our society’s moral foundation. Every resident of our City should know that I and every member of my administration stand unconditionally for justice for our Black citizens. Our City should know just how deeply I feel about this subject. The following was written before the most recent events. As a White mayor of a city that is 58% African American I am keenly aware of the role race plays in American society. No serious observer of the American scene can overlook the impact of racial attitudes on policy and politics. Unfortunately, we are more divided culturally, economically, and politically than most of us fully appreciate. Black America looks across a racial divide and sees the beneficiaries of White Privilege and what Frederick Douglass early on called White Supremacy. White citizens often think of racial discrimination as distant echoes of slavery, ancient history depicted in grainy images and sepia tones. This disconnect has the same disabling effect on our City as it does on the country. My mission as Mayor is to provide some insight into our racial divide and offer to build a bridge that helps bring people together. Legislative initiatives have proven to be ineffective. In spite of some statistical progress among African Americans, the gaps between Black and White remain wide. Beyond economic disparities, we still don’t know one another. We don’t trust one another. We rarely socialize together. We are culturally estranged. Government “programs” that seek to improve these conditions ignore cultural dynamics and have an artificial quality about them. In the end, my prescription is based on the simple belief that, more than anything else, America suffers from racial ignorance. We cannot love someone we do not know. We cannot respect someone whose life we do not fully appreciate. We need a 14 JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
history lesson—a lesson in African American history. After watching the PBS specials, The African Americans— Many Rivers to Cross, and Henry Louis Gates’ Reconstruction, I was left with the same feeling I had when I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Each should be required viewing as a prerequisite for American citizenship because it is clear that unless one is fully informed about the experience of African Americans in this country, one can never have a complete understanding of American history. America’s treatment of African Americans since long before its founding has been brutal beyond any clinical description of slavery in the history books. The depth of contempt that accompanied the mistreatment of Blacks by White America for centuries provides a powerful emotional context for the simmering resentments felt today by Blacks toward White society. What causes the great disconnect between Blacks and Whites in America is that one group is all too familiar with the real American history and the other is willfully blind to its most painful chapters. This does not mean that America is a country of conscious racists. But not consciously being a racist does not relieve us of the obligation to acknowledge our country’s racist past. Not consciously being a racist does not absolve us of not understanding how our nation’s history has impacted the lives of African Americans today. People who have never uttered a racist comment or harbored any racist animus have nonetheless never felt a need to undo the social infrastructure that has disadvantaged Black Americans throughout history, even recent history. This makes all of us complicit in creating the racial strife that today tears at the moral, social, and political fabric of our society. Many White Americans look at the state of Black America and only see high rates of poverty, joblessness, crime, and incarceration. They wonder why Blacks don’t do what their own forebears did—work hard, buy a home, and raise a family. While Whites resist understanding the burdens that history has placed on Black Americans—looking more to contemporary behaviors and individual poor choices—Blacks are inclined to look to a
history of dehumanization, degradation, and deprivation as reasonable bases for their relative lack of progress in American society. No one can know with any certainty how things would have turned out for Black Americans if they had just been allowed to learn to read, had been permitted to attend school, if families had been allowed to remain intact, if they had been permitted to own property or if they had gotten their promised “forty acres and a mule.” No one can know what life would be like today without poll taxes and literacy tests well into the middle of the last century, which in the South effectively nullified the voting protections of the Fifteenth Amendment. Or how history might have been written had the U.S. troops from the South not been withdrawn in 1876, leaving the administration of justice to the remorseless terror of the Ku Klux Klan when over 3,000 Black Americans were hanged in the public square with no recourse to the protections of the law. Indeed, no one can know for sure how things might have turned out— but Black America certainly has the more compelling argument in this debate. In spite of all that is wondrous about America, it is important that we recognize that its history of racism competes with the worst chapters of inhumanity in world history. And it is not ancient history. Long after the undisputed horrors of slavery, there was the history of Jim Crow, institutionalized segregation extending well into my lifetime. Almost a century after slavery ended with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, George Wallace stood at the doors of the University of Alabama to prevent Vivian Malone and James A. Hood, two Black students, from enrolling in school. It was not until 1954 that the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that the prevailing doctrine of “separate but equal” was, in fact, not equal. But in 1960, six years after Brown, little Ruby Bridges had to be escorted into a Louisiana elementary school by federal marshals. In 1974, White protestors rioted against the integration of public schools—not in the deep south, but in Boston. All of this during my lifetime. As much as it hurts us to admit it, there was throughout the country an American system of apartheid. What else can we
call racially separate education? What do we call Blacks being required to sit in the back of the bus and to sit in the balcony of a movie theater? Or not being able to sit at a lunch counter or drink from a water fountain? Or not being able to use a hotel or swim in a public swimming pool? What else do we call the racist redlining instituted by the Federal Housing Administration that prevented Blacks from financing their homes in better neighborhoods, or deeds that prevented selling property to anyone but Caucasians? What would we call laws prohibiting racial intermarriage as if to protect the White race from pollution by Black genes? Assuredly no one was concerned with the pollution of the Black race by the genes of White slave owners. What every Black person in America senses all too clearly is that this catalog of mistreatment could only have been visited upon people regarded by the majority as being inferior. What haunts Black America today, and why some athletes choose not to stand for the Anthem, not in protest against any particular contemporary act of injustice, but rather against the abiding indifference of White America that allows injustice to persist. Athletes do not necessarily take a knee to protest the shooting of a Black man in the back while fleeing from police, but that the shooting evidenced the attitude that his life had no value. In some way we are all products of our historical narrative. White Americans borrow from the story of our founding—the heroic fight for independence, the taming of the frontier, the great builders, scientists, explorers, financiers, and political giants of our history. Our personal narratives are drawn from the stories of those who went before us from which are derived our aspirations. But Americans seem to take inherited pride in what is good about America without feeling the inherited shame about what is bad about America. We internalize our heroes as if selectively borrowing from their DNA. Thomas Jefferson was a political giant and author of our founding documents, but he owned slaves. He seemed remorseful, or at times even guilt-ridden, but with the exception of his enslaved offspring he never freed his slaves. Jefferson, like America, never adequately atoned for his sins. ►
White citizens often think of racial discrimination as distant echoes of slavery, ancient history depicted in grainy images and sepia tones. This disconnect has the same disabling effect on our City as it does on the country.
JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
WILMIMGTON MAYOR SPEAKS OUT continued from previous page
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I always wonder what young Black children borrow from others in formulating their narrative. While White children borrow virtue from a pantheon of American and European heroes, African American children view history through a lens of slavery, oppression, and the lash. The Black heroes are those who resisted oppression, thereby affirming the very narrative of their oppression. How can the American mythology that is so healthy for young White children serve young Black children whose self-regard is constrained by that very mythology? Frederick Douglass said that two hundred years of slavery had taught Blacks to respect White people and to despise themselves—a bitter legacy from which to borrow a healthy image. If Black and White are ever going to treat each other as equals and co-exist in relative harmony, then Whites must understand the Black experience. We must be taught to share our common heritage even while one of us was a victim of that heritage. In learning and acknowledging our history there must inevitably arise some mutual understanding. Whites must be made to understand why life has indeed conferred upon them a relative advantage. They must be made to understand the history of brutality and humiliation visited upon Black America and hopefully give sincere if grudging respect to those who have endured it. James Baldwin in his Notes of a Native Son writes, “I can conceive of no Negro native to this country Who has not, by the age of puberty, been irreparably scarred
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For more information about future concerts and dates visit TheGrandWilmington.org
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The wonder is not that so many are ruined But that so many survive.” If we are to ever understand our nation, its virtues and its vices, we must read Baldwin. We must read Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, and the scores of Black intellectual leaders whose vivid perspectives on Black lives have been quieted by historical neglect and academic condescension. Our failure to do so diminishes us and ensures that the perils of our racial estrangement will endure, forever leaving to our children the legacy of a divided America—never free, never equal, never a great nation.”
BRINGING GOOD EATS TO THE STREETS
DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON DE Expanded outdoor dining Designated parking spots for curbside delivery Free valet parking Tuesday Saturday from 5-10 pm Live entertainment on Fridays from 5-9 pm on the 800 block of Market Street Curbside Wilmington runs through July, so make reservations now! Visit downtownwilmingtonde.com/blog for details.
JANUARY 2016 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Malcolm Coley (left) and Newdy Felton bring enthusiasm and creativity to Influencers Lab Media, a full-service marketing and media company. Photo provided by Influencers Lab Media
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS Black entrepreneurs need more than a creative approach to get ahead By Ken Mammarella
erseverance and new perspectives are two of the important strategies needed to give Wilmington’s Black businesses the opportunities they deserve, three local serial entrepreneurs agree. “We call it the art of the pull-up,” Newdy Felton, partner in Influencers Lab Media (a full-service marketing and media company) says of his years hustling for connections, funding and sales. “We like that adrenaline. We are relentless and never take ‘no’ for an answer.” “There needs to be more diversity across the board for decision makers,” says Ivan Thomas, founder of DeTv, whose tagline is 200% positive news 100% of the time. “There aren’t too many resources with people of color at the table. People with amazing ideas don’t even get out of the gate.” “Ironically, (such problems) work to your advantage,” says Jason Aviles, co-founder of multiple initiatives to help 18 JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
other people and businesses grow. “They force you to build this undeniable persistence and commitment to your cause and learn how to adapt and react.” The three are among the guest editorial committee for this issue of Out & About. With a “Where Do We Go From Here?” theme, Out & About is adding to the nationwide conversation about race. One recent idea that has earned quick action is the 15-Percent Pledge, with New Yorker Aurora James asking national retailers to commit 15 percent of their shelf space to products from Black-owned businesses, The New York Times reported. The figure represents the country’s Black population. Wilmington is 58 percent Black; New Castle County is 26 percent Black; and Delaware is 23 percent Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
They force you to build this undeniable persistence and commitment to your cause and learn how to adapt and react. Photo: Butch Comegys
— Jason Aviles
Wilmington entrepreneur Jason Aviles says exposure to the right networks is key. .
One huge stumbling block is the lack of local banks, foundations and other funders run by people of color, says Thomas, a Delaware native and also owner of BluFilms Media. “I’m so used to it,” he says, sighing. “You dig hard and keep going to be the best you can. A lot of banks wouldn’t even look at our business plans. If they did, they came back with excuses. That’s how it’s been not just for myself but for other people of color, to get off the ground or to expand a successful concept.” He says a notable exception is True Access Capital. Since 1992, the nonprofit community development financial institution, previously called the First State Community Loan Fund, has focused on underserved populations. Thomas therefore developed creative strategies to bring in revenue, including T-shirts (the most popular of the all-positive messages just says “Kaepernick”), $99 headshots efficiently organized, and asking for donations from people profiled in DeTv’s “Candidate Check-ins.” Felton also has encountered a lack of funding for his ventures, including marketing (Influencers Lab Media), and retail (Step It Up Clothing). “Our influence in the Black community is great and we have the ability to engage a large audience that most companies can’t reach,” says Felton. “That’s such a valuable asset, but at times we feel as though we’re not often offered the same contracts and money that our White counterparts are offered. Our ability to have such an influence isn’t matched in Delaware. We were able to group one of our Facebook groups to 10,000 in a matter of three weeks.” Thomas likewise cites being unappreciated (“they
applauded the effort but didn’t show any interest”) and underpaid (accepting it because “we have to feed our families”). “The lack of funding directly comes from the lack of exposure to the networks that we need to be in to be supported,” says Aviles, whose startups include Wilmington Green Box (which brings fresh foods and teen jobs to the city), Artist Ave Station (a co-working space) and Wilmington Placemakers (a nonprofit focused on community culture, engagement and wellness). “We’re getting into the entrepreneurship late in the game, and the funding pool, especially in Delaware, comes from people you know. It’s a very tight-knit community.”
INTEREST IN INCLUSIVENESS
Aviles believes that part of the solution means to appreciate and embrace diversity, and he cites that vibrancy in his native Bronx and in the buzzy metropolises of Seattle and Portland, Oregon, for not just economic growth but also quality of life. “People with political clout and money don’t even understand the problem,” he says. “They don’t understand inequality and that their privilege is rooted in inequality.” ►
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GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS continued from previous page
For Wilmington to improve, its boards of directors need to become more diverse and its workforces need more diversity training, and both groups need to care enough to change, Aviles says. “Then we can have this mixed pot of goodness, and leverage diversity and culture to succeed in everything.” He also believes that business leaders need to admit that they are at times vulnerable and need help. “Humility is our biggest strength, and it’s rooted in compassion and competence. Yet we often think that strength is often built on force, but strength is really about grace. It’s difficult to explain that to my teens,” he says of the three dozen at-risk youth he’s employed and mentored so far through Wilmington Green Box. “Your vision means more than your ego. That’s character development.” “In order for there to be a change, we—the African American community—have to come together, set the stage on a political level, vote with our money and show our influence,” says Felton, a New Jersey native who grew up in Delaware. “That can turn Delaware into a powerhouse of the African American perspective.” Aviles also feels an obligation to “provide a solid foundation for our youth,” so that they can build on what his generation has developed. And the events of late should go beyond starting the conversation. “We need to develop the action plan.”
Getting involved in a community cleanup is an easy way to engage in the neighborhood. Just ask Kenyon Wilson.
GETTING ORGANIZED Can George Floyd’s death and its aftermath serve as catalysts for Wilmington’s citizens to join civic groups—or form new ones —and reclaim and renew their neighborhoods? By Bob Yearck
hange can begin with a simple act, says Kenyon Wilson, offering this example: One day last month, the father of four looked out the window of his home on West 34th Street and saw a neighbor cleaning up an alleyway on the other side of his block.
It was something I had talked about doing,” says Wilson, “so I went over and joined him. Then
someone else came along and joined us.” The 34-year-old Wilson grew up just outside Wilmington and has lived in the city for 13 years. A co-founder of Influencers Lab Media, he believes in collaborative efforts and says small acts like cleaning up a trash-strewn alley can bring neighbors and neighborhoods together to begin organizing and, eventually, enable them to accomplish more meaningful changes. This would seem to be flashpoint in history when the opportunity and the impetus to organize and to make those changes is at hand. The appalling video of George Floyd’s slow and agonizing death has sparked demonstrations, protests and cries for action—for change
—in many cities, including Wilmington. This time, people seem to be saying, we will achieve change. This time, things will be different. But, as U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester told Out & About last month: “If we want this time to be different, we’ve got to do different.” For the Black and Brown citizens of Wilmington, that means shaking off a generation-long civic malaise spurred by racism and long-term disinvestment in housing, infrastructure, amenities and opportunities. ► JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
GETTING ORGANIZED continued from previous page
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The origin of Wilmington’s problems, in the opinion of many experts, was the construction nearly 60 years ago of I-95. The highway permanently changed the character of Delaware’s largest city, forcing more than a thousand households to sell their homes, and bulldozing 20-plus vibrant city blocks to make way for the interstate, seen as the way of the future. Reeling in the wake of I-95 construction, Wilmington found itself dealing with many problems. Cumulatively, they contributed to the decline of neighborhoods, says Cassandra Marshall, Wilmington Democratic Party chair and president of the Quaker Hill Neighborhood Association. “It [the decline] has been partially due to the disinvestment in some local communities,” she says, “the flight of some Wilmingtonians to the suburbs, school systems that no longer provide shared centers of experience for kids—neighborhood schools where neighborhood kids are educated, play sports, get engaged with afterschool activities. Churches are not as neighborhood-based and many local churches are not engaged in any productive way outside of their own parishioners.” This has left many residents and neighborhoods cynical, sapping civic pride and weakening community organizations, she says. It wasn’t always thus, says Wilson. “When I was young, my neighborhood would put flyers out for civic association meetings. Plus the people who ran them were friends’ parents, coaches of our sports, and church members and leaders”—people he and his friends knew, creating a sense of community. “Fast forward to today: not so much,” he says. Another long-standing problem in Wilmington is the lack of home ownership. Renters make up 45 percent of the city’s population. “The people who seek to get involved with their immediate neighborhood are folks that have a sense of duty taught to them, but more important, they tend to be homeowners,” Wilson says. “I don’t have a poll to reference, but I can tell you, renters are not attending these meetings in large numbers.”
Organizing neighborhoods, or joining existing organizations, can produce many benefits for residents and the city as a whole. Marshall cites a few: “We can know our neighbors and build trust among ourselves. We can share our ambitions for our neighborhoods and start plans to get them done. We can show our institutions that we are engaged and looking for specific results and behavior. We can have productive conversations about what our communities should look like with our electeds.” On a more basic level, she says, “The idea of local organizing, ownership of your block, your community, is one way to push for local change. You can organize a block or a neighborhood. It starts by knocking on doors and meeting your neighbors. ” Neighbors may find allies in their own communities as well. City Councilman Chris Johnson, who serves the Seventh District, says that nascent organizations can reach out to their local faith leaders or non-profit leaders for advice.
“Often, these individuals are the closest to the heartbeat of the community and can give unfiltered insight into how to effectively organize a community,” Johnson says. Once organized, says Marshall, a group can begin improving their environment—“even if it is to just to plan to sweep the block once a week, or figure out what to do about a problem house, or get street lights fixed, there is much a committed group of people can do.” “I want people to know that they have the power, they just have to use it,” she adds. On a larger scale, civic groups can address broken or outdated city policies. And that can be relatively easy to accomplish, Marshall says, because of Wilmington’s small size (approximately 71,000). “The government is accessible, and real wins that can start making livable change to communities are relatively easy to do,” says the civic activist. “And strength in numbers can counteract some of the effects of long-term issues and provide support to longer-term solutions. We need to ask our institutions to do better, and organizing helps do that and helps demonstrate to institutions that we are here.”
If we want this time to be different,
we’ve got to do different.
—U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester
48 Already in Place
Marshall rightly points out that many organizations already exist. In fact, the website for the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services lists 48 neighborhood associations. (For a full listing, go to wilmingtonde.gov/government/city-offices/constituent-services/ civic-and-neighborhood-organizations.) So obviously, the structure is there. Filling those organizations with vibrant leaders and participants seems to be the major challenge. “We’ve lost the young people,” says Wilson. “Those who attend meetings are older, or council people, or those who run in the council people’s circles. They’re aspiring politicians, or they represent non-profits.” Wilson suggests getting creative to attract young people. In an email to O&A, he wrote: “We’d like to change the narrative when it comes to young people getting involved in their local community and engaging in their neighborhood associations. Create a challenge for them to attend their local meetings. With the recent ‘awakening’ of young people and the numbers that came out to protest, how can we extend that protest into actions? What if there was a social media challenge for people to attend their neighborhood’s civic association meeting, then post what they learned #communitybuilding.” Marshall agrees. “The civic associations need help—and new blood.”
The Rallying Point
Like many others, Wilson hopes that George Floyd’s death will serve to rally people to action, and to organize. “To many of us, we see George Floyd as ourselves,” Wilson says. “His murder has the effect of waking up people to the inequity of justice in policing. The question is, how does the mistreatment of people of color play into getting involved in your local community?” Perhaps the final word should be left to Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, the first woman and the first African-American to represent Delaware in Congress. In mid-June, she sent this statement to O&A: “Organizing and utilizing our collective voices and abilities is fundamental to how this nation has grown and evolved. Whether it was marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, or gathering in town squares and city streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, change in this country is realized when we unite and organize. As I’ve said before, everyone can do something that no one else can do. It is time for all of us to take up individual and collective action to create that more perfect union.” JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
GETTING ORGANIZED continued from previous page
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Joining a community garden is a great way to meet your neighbors, not to mention provide fresh produce for the household on a regular basis.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR GETTING ORGANIZED
ant to get connected to your civic association? Contact Jennifer Prado, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services. 576-2489; CityHelp@WilmingtonDE.gov. Already involved, and looking for advanced training? City Councilman Chris Johnson says, “Learning the key tenets and strategies of successful organizers and campaigns will definitely pay dividends in the long run.” He cites Network Delaware, the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, and the YWCA Delaware. “They offer cost-effective training programs for communities. Delaware Center for Justice also hosts organizing workshops. “Nationally, there are several effective advocacy groups, including Moms Demand Action and Black Lives Matter. They have pushed an effective grassroots organizing agenda throughout every corner of this nation.”
LOCAL: • • • • •
Delaware Center for Justice: dcjustice.org; Metropolitan Wilm. Urban League: mwul.org; Network Delaware: thenetworkde.org; YWCA Delaware: ywcade.org; You can also contact Jennifer Prado, Director Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services, 576-2489; CityHelp@WilmingtonDE.gov.
• Black Lives Matter: blacklivesmatter.com; • Moms Demand Action: momsdemandaction.org.
Access to funding remains a big obstacle for youth programs. Above, students from Fouryouth Productions, a youth-engagement success story. Photo: Joe del Tufo
QUALITY VS. QUANTITY Youth program leaders say funders have to stop playing the numbers game By Jim Miller
n mid-June, four of our guest editors—all of whom have extensive experience with inner-city youth programs—came together to discuss funding of such programs, the problems with the existing system, and what could be done to improve the system. Throughout the discussion, the theme of “quality vs. quantity” came up again and again. Our guest editors argued that, in many cases, funders’ focus on programs reaching large numbers of youth often inhibits quality programming —programs our editors believe, through their own experiences, are more effective. Our panel consisted of Jason Aviles, Larry Morris, and Cora and Fred Reed. Jason Aviles is the CEO of FLYOGI, a yoga-based program that offers lessons in meditation, discipline and personal growth. He is also project director for Wilmington Green Box, which helps provide employment to teens from Wilmington’s at-risk communities.
Before creating these programs, Aviles devoted seven years to professionally counseling and teaching youth in New York and Delaware. He says these early experiences inspired him to develop his own solutions to the challenge of reaching at-risk youth. “I felt that like no matter where I went, no matter what the condition was, no matter where the facility was located, we were providing the same solutions to the same problems and not seeing any results,” Aviles says. Larry M. Morris has served the Wilmington community in a variety of ways, including as past president of the Wilmington NAACP and as former director of Community Affairs for former Congressman and now Gov. John Carney. In the late ‘70s, as an NAACP youth advisor, Morris created a local program called the NAACP Basketball League. In the following decade, without funding, he created and developed the Morris Youth Center, from which he operated various youth leagues and programs. ► JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
FUNDING: QUALITY VS. QUANTITY continued from previous page
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A trio of Wilmington Green Box employees display their healthy drink options.
From his experiences, Morris gleaned what he considers a valuable truth: “You had to provide something that the children wanted. And when you get children to the point where they want what you have, you can provide structure because they’re not going anywhere.” Cora and Fred Reed own and operate Reeds’ Refuge, a Jefferson Award-winning program in Wilmington’s East Side that since 2012 has been utilizing the arts as a means to reach children from the surrounding at-risk communities. At age 18, Cora Reed began her quest to create a five-star-rated daycare center in her community, where there were none. At that time, her husband, Fred, was working with kids as a paraprofessional at Douglas Elementary School. Some of those students were already in the judicial system, he recalls. Together, the Reeds saw the need for a youth center that could focus attention on aspects of life that were not being addressed with at-risk youth at home or at school. The Reeds felt that existing programs were desperately lacking. “If [these other youth programs] have been around 100 years, and no changes are being made, then it’s time to re-evaluate,” says Cora Reed. “We shouldn’t be losing these children left and right. If programs for the children are effective, we shouldn’t be losing them. “I think that the main thing is for all of us to come together, reevaluate, and ask: ‘What are we doing in this area?’ Because whatever was done in the past, it’s not working anymore.” The four youth-program leaders considered several questions. Here’s is a summary of their discussion:
O&A: What should be the goal of an effective youth program in the black community? LARRY MORRIS: I think you have to provide a consistent structure that children can look forward to. A lot of times inconsistency is the reason why children don’t achieve or don’t do the right thing. There has to be a loving environment where they know you’re not just there because that’s your job. JASON AVILES: I think it’s two things. The first thing is that it has to be comprehensive and holistic. We can’t just look at youth development as something that’s purely logical and academic. It has to be geared towards emotional, mental and spiritual development, as well as academic development. It has to be holistic. I think the second part is that the education has to be appropriate to the culture. A lot of times, the education that they get in schools isn’t appropriate for developing the awareness of their own culture. There’s a lack of self-identity Education has to empower them so that the culture in which the education is rooted is relatable. They need to understand education through the lens of African-centric knowledge and information.
CORA REED: Most of all, I think we need to build organization
with love. To me, that’s the key—showing love—because, in many cases, they’re not getting love. They may come in hungry from the night before. It’s our job to assess what the needs are [and] understand what this child is going through. I believe that if we can provide love, we definitely can bring forth change in that child. FRED REED: Like Mr. Morris said: Structure has to be in place. For me, being hands-on with Reeds’ Refuge children, I know each and every one of them. It’s about being aware of the type of child that we’re dealing with and their background, where they come from. A lot of times these children are acting out exactly what they see on a daily basis. You may have them for eight or nine hours, but they go home to a whole lot of mess.
O&A: What’s the number one challenge facing your organization right now? FRED REED: Reeds’ is a new non-profit on the block. Yes, we’re making a great impact in a positive way with our youth. But our struggle is, because we’re that new nonprofit on the block, a lot of times we get overlooked. We don’t get the support. LARRY MORRIS: What Fred just said is crucial in making an impact on children today. What he said was, “You’ve got to know your children.” And that plays into this quality versus quantity issue. A lot of times a funder wants you to say that you’re going to reach 300 kids—or a large quantity— and, to really know your children, that’s not good. That’s a numbers game. Funders need to understand that [in order] to make an impact on these children. The fact that a child comes through the door of Reeds’ Refuge and they’re smiling—where, two weeks ago, they were frowning and wanting to cuss you out—that’s progress. You’re making an impact. O&A: Larry, would you agree then that the funding is the number one challenge from your experience as well? LARRY MORRIS: Yes, I would say that because a lot of the people who sit on these boards and pass judgment about who gets the money, they have no idea what [it takes] to do a good program with children—particularly with today’s children. When I went to places when I was growing up, I wasn’t disrespectful because I was worried about that getting back to my mom [laughs]. Today’s children aren’t raised like that. We need people in these funding sources to be aware that there’s a lot that goes into reaching some of these children—not keep saying to you, “In order to get our money, you need to tell us you’re dealing with 150 or 200 kids.”
Reeds Refuge seeks to impact inner-city youth through various art forms. Recently, Reeds students completed a powerful video entitled Breathe. It’s available on YouTube.
JASON AVILES: Yeah, I definitely think that the funding approach and the way in which funding is distributed needs to change if we’re really concerned about the real impact that we’re making in our children’s lives. Because we know on a first-hand basis that there’s a certain amount of energy and attention required to truly see progress, growth and development. There’s no way around that. FRED REED: To go a little more in depth with it, I also think that the funders have their “picks” in their choices. Things are already pre-determined. I’ve been to different grant meetings with people, and I’ve heard them say, “Well, we handpick certain people.” And it automatically let me know who was going to get the grant. And sure enough, that person mentioned got the grant. O&A: So there’s a political aspect to the funding system
FRED REED: Sure. LARRY MORRIS: For sure. Funders see it very specifically:
Where are they going to put their money and what are they going get back for it? We just have to adjust how they determine what they get back for it. Stop them thinking about quantity. Funders need to be open to new programs. There are programs that have been getting funding for several years that I wouldn’t put my children in [chuckles from the group].
O&A: Why? LARRY MORRIS: Because they’re not structured. They’re
simply there to get the staff paid. They’re playing a numbers game. Yeah, they can produce 200 kids, but they’re not reaching anybody. But the funders are now able to put on their annual report that they gave money to a program that serves 200 children. It’s a numbers game. We just have to get funders to adjust by asking: “Do you want to have an impact?” The programs that Jason, Fred and Cora are talking about —they’re raising those children. In order to raise those children and prepare them to be productive in the world—and not be a menace to society—they got to be able to reach those children. And lenders have to understand: Do you want to reach children? Or do you just want to give money to justify whatever your target number is? CORA REED: One of the things that I’ve noticed also is there are a lot of fake numbers. There’s a lot of exaggerating the truth. I guess because they can put it in writing and, automatically, they’ll get the funding. With us, it’s been a struggle. We applied for a major grant, and I got so frustrated that I actually went to the funder and said, “Listen, we’re doing the work. You can come to the facility and see all the children. They’re there. These are not false numbers. Everything is real.” But the way he looked at me was like, “Hey, you know, if you put it in writing, the outcome is what they want to see.”
O&A: What would be a better way to evaluate these programs? It sounds like the funders have to have some other criteria other than just numbers, or it’s just going to be like a vicious cycle. Any suggestions? CORA REED: I think that’s what has happened. It’s a vicious cycle. So many organizations are lying, saying that they are taking care of 200 or 300 students, and they’re really not. But they are getting that funding as if they are. That’s what bothers me. JASON AVILES: I think from the top down, it has to be changed [nods of agreement from everyone]. Because the reality is that the funding comes with stipulations from the top down. ► JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
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QUALITY VS. QUANTITY Let’s say that the government continued from previous page issues a fund—whether it’s fed dollars or from the state—and gives that funding to a lender. That funding goes to the lender with stipulations. And that lender needs to understand those stipulations and follow them because they are using part of that money [from the fund] to support their own staff and infrastructure. So if you follow the food chain, for [the lender], the only way they can distribute those funds is to qualify grantees who meet certain numbers and metrics. And if [the lender] doesn’t give those funds to organizations that qualify in terms of data and metrics, they can’t continue to get that fund money to keep their own organization alive. They’re being forced to hand-pick organizations that follow this certain standard. That’s why, as soon as we come into that game, we’re pushed out because as a new organization we don’t have those numbers. So it may go to [other organizations] just because the lenders can say that they gave the money to somebody that’s going to produce these numbers, whether they’re real or not—so that they can continue getting the money. That [lender] is going to do whatever it needs to do, whether it be on paper or not, to continue to get that money because they need to support their staff. No one is willing to give up that entire system because everyone’s existence is depending upon it working to their benefit. So the only way to truly penetrate this entire ordeal is to change the way the funding is distributed from the top down. And that’s a systematic change that’s required. The originator distributing the funds needs to change the intentions of what those funds are responsible for creating . LARRY MORRIS: Jason used the word “systematic.” There has been a way of dealing with race in this country, and it’s usually been the easiest way. It’s like, “We’re not really going to put a lot of time into this. We’re just going to do what’s acceptable.” And so now, because of the mass demonstrations and public attention, there are [organizations] that are willing to rethink the way they’ve been doing things. Funders have been doing things the easiest way [agreement from everyone]. There has to be enough attention put on them to say, “No, you need to rethink this systematic way you’ve been funding these huge programs.” There has to be a cry from the public or visionary political people to say, “Are we reaching these children?”
O&A: In order to make this better—if I’m hearing you correctly, Larry—you’re suggesting that there needs to be political public pressure put on some of these lenders in terms of the way they evaluate children’s programs. Is that correct? LARRY MORRIS: Yes. O&A: How does everyone else feel about that? FRED REED: I feel exactly like Mr. Morris—what he just said. CORA REED: That’s correct. JASON AVILES: I would agree. I think the intentions have to be
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for the betterment of our children. That has to be the No. 1 priority. It’s a No. 1 priority for us, but if it isn’t the No. 1 priority for them, there’s going to be a disconnect. I feel like changing that narrative is going to be such a process because it is systematic and it is political. I feel like the only way that we can [is] with numbers—to somehow band together programs under a much more solid and sturdy umbrella. With numbers, we can go to the table and say we have X amount of influence over the capacity to reach kids and raise impact. I feel like that’s the real approach to it.
Wilmington students team to paint a mural during February's Martin Luther King Day celebration. Photo: Butch Comegys
The Gift of Inspiration Stories of how the arts painted a brighter future for three East Side youths (Part one of a four-part series) By Leeann Wallett
or more than three decades, award-winning folk artist and educator Eunice LaFate has used her background in education and visual art to help transform the lives of many of Wilmington’s East Side youth. Her message to them: “Don’t let your environment define you.” Born in St. Ann, Jamaica, to a family of eight girls and two boys, LaFate remembers her childhood fondly. “My mother was a homemaker and my father a preacher,” she says. “And, while we grew up poor, my parents instilled strong values into me and my siblings.” She recalls her favorite “memory gem,” or short precept based on moral and Christian values, passed down to her as a young child:
“Labor for learning before you grow old, for learning is better than silver and gold; silver and gold will vanish away but a good education will never decay.” -Unknown author LaFate is a self-taught artist whose first canvas was the walls in her house. Her passion for drawing and painting developed significantly when she attended Mico Teachers College in Kingston, Jamaica. “For every lesson it was required to have a visual aid,” she says. “That is where my creative talent came to being. Instead of copy and pasting, I drew my own pictures.” ► JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
THE GIFT OF INSPIRATION continued from previous page
Eunice LaFate has been inspiring youth with art since she arrived in Wilmington in 1983. She currently operates a gallery on the 200 block of Market Street.
As time passed, LaFate’s work in folk art became deeply rooted in her experience of inequality. “The core of my work is about humanity and all of its diversity, racial harmony and equality,” she says. This passion for seeing the beauty of diversity, despite the racism she experienced after moving to the United States, inspired LaFate to pursue a career in teaching and later in human services administration. A lithograph of one of her acrylic paintings, “The Melting Pot vs. the Salad Bowl,” hangs in the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Ark. The work is a metaphorical depiction of a multicultural society—the left side depicts the homogeneous “melting pot” of cultures and the right side a heterogenous “salad bowl,” where each individual culture is represented. LaFate left Jamaica in 1983 to move to Wilmington, where she worked as a teacher for one year at St. Peter's Cathedral School, then ventured into the world of finance. After 12 years of banking, she took a position with the Wilmington Job Corps Center, where she worked with youth ages 16 to 25, who came to the program labeled as “atrisk.” Realizing how outdated and damaging the label could be, Job Corps' management changed it to “at-promise” and made sure that each student began the day with the affirmation “I’m at-promise.”
Using the Arts as Prevention
With the skills she gained as an educator and artist, she created her own program, “Arts as Prevention," which uses the visual and performing arts to positively impact and engage youth. LaFate used this model to influence the lives of six neighborhood boys, including her son, Jermaine, and his two friends, Andre L. Harris and Kevin Frazier. Four of the six boys continued learning under LaFate’s mentorship, from when they first met her until they graduated from high school. All four boys finished high school and college, and are now leading productive lives. Jermaine and his friends grew up at the height of the “crackcocaine era during the late 1980s and early 1990s,” according to the 2013 Wilmington HOPE Commission’s Participatory Action Research (PAR) Project study. Each summer during that time, the LaFates’ basement became a safe haven, where she taught youth to “set goals and principles” so that their external environment, which was filled with violence, drugs and crime, did not define them. “Me and my friends grew up in a place that had many challenges,” says Jermaine LaFate. “The arts became a refuge from what we were experiencing outside of our homes.”
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Now a scrum master and senior agile coach at Choice Hotels International, Jermaine is re-discovering his passion for the spoken word. “Growing up in the late ‘90s, we listened to a lot of hip-hop,” he says. “The genre spoke of the Black experience in impoverished neighborhoods,” something which inspired Jermaine and his friends to create and critique each other’s raps. Frazier, who was the best man at Jermaine’s wedding, took a circuitous route to success in the music industry. He started by working backstage on JaRule’s Mid-Atlantic tours, and eventually became a co-owner of DollarZEnterprize, a production company that will open its first recording studio later this year in North Hollywood, where Frazier has lived for the last five years. Harris, who met Jermaine through Harris’ cousin, calls Eunice LaFate “mom” because of her strong influence throughout his childhood. Her guidance helped him discover his passion for teaching and entrepreneurship. Harris became an entrepreneur at age 16 and established his own company, Cliq Records Entertainment. He is now an apostle at the Breakthrough Reformation of Churches in New Castle, which has ministries throughout the United States and abroad.
From Grief to Growth
In 2004, LaFate would use the lessons learned from Arts as Prevention and apply them to a new project. She worked with a group of students who had been kicked out of school and placed in a Kingswood Community Center program called “Project Stay Free.” She taught the students to tap into their creative talents to make “clean money” by encouraging them to create and sell music CDs, paint portraits of families to sell for a commission, or write and sell their poetry. LaFate continues to believe that in this time of immense societal
change, the arts are invaluable in showing the youth of today that we must accept each other as equals. “Our society has an appetite for tolerance, rather than acceptance,” she says. “As a society, we need to plant and nurture the seed of positive race relations, rather than wait until crime and violence is ripe. Like a tree, it is our responsibility to constantly instill positive values of respect and be understanding of people Entertainment entrepreneur Kevin Frazier. and their differences.” “We’re not going to change adults,” she says, “but we can help steer children in the right direction so that they can grow up to know justice and acceptance.” LaFate’s latest work honors the coast-to-coast protests sparked by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Titled “Know Justice,” the piece features four faceless figures—one white and three Black, the latter with their hands raised — and evokes the call and repeat message activists shout, “No justice, no peace,” at many of the protests around the country and throughout the world. The next article in this series will feature Kevin Frazier, entertainment product manager and co-owner of DollarZEnterprize
Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot JULY 5 – SEPTEMBER 27, 2020 Black Survival Guide reﬂects on the year 1968, when the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took place and the National Guard occupied Wilmington for nine months. Now, as we grapple with violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others, this work will be on display again. Black lives matter, and we at the Museum will continue to address critical social issues aﬀecting our communities through civic discourse and creative expression. How to Live through a Police Riot [Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot] (detail), 2018, Hank Willis Thomas (born 1976), Screen print on retroreﬂective vinyl with aluminum backing, 62 x 48 inches. Commissioned by the Delaware Art Museum. Photograph of Wilmington Riots and National Guard Occupation by Frank Fahey, 1968. Courtesy of The News Journal. Text from Northeast Conservation Association, Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot, c. 1960s. Daniels Collection, courtesy of the Delaware Historical Society. © Hank Willis Thomas. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. | This exhibition is organized by the Delaware Art Museum. This exhibition is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.
2301 Kentmere Pkwy Wilmington, DE 19806 302.571.9590 delart.org
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SPLASH INTO SUMMER WITH
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A conversation between Gen Z and the ‘OG’ Baby Boomers needs to happen By Jeff Taylor
oday’s Gen Z generation—those born from 1997 onwards—now represent the largest generational group in the United States at 90 million people, approximately 29% of the U.S. population. They outnumber Millennials by about four million and “OG” (Old Guy/Gal) Baby Boomers by 19 million.
Gen Z represents a unique group, comprising almost 40% minorities, which is the largest minority percentage of any previous generation. Their diversity has helped them bond more closely with, and to better understand, the systemic racial discrimination challenges suffered by African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and members of the LGBTQ communities. Additionally, they have literally grown up with the internet, social media and smartphones, allowing them to disseminate their messages and causes domestically and worldwide. They have also witnessed and have been victims of the most mass shootings ever recorded in the U.S.; they started their lives under the threat of global terrorism with the attack on the World Trade Towers; and are now living with a global pandemic—cutting short their middle school, high school and college graduations and family celebrations. Their experiences have forced them to grow up fast, leading massive protests to affect change. In addition, they represent almost 40% of today’s consumers,
wielding vast economic strength, while, ironically, living with enormous college debt and having bleak job opportunities. In this current world of a global pandemic and multiple police shootings and racial injustice towards African Americans, they have unilaterally led and joined massive and vocal protests throughout every American city in support of the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice, which opposes systemic racism and unbridled police brutality of African Americans. However, there has been a huge communication gap between Gen Zers and Baby Boomers, (who have prospered in the economy), all the while witnessing and/or being victims of similar racial discrimination and police brutality. Baby Boomers can also remember decades ago when they led and joined the 1960s protests around the Vietnam War, women’s rights and civil rights, while witnessing the assassinations of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King. You’d think both groups, having numerous shared experiences, would engage in a mutually beneficial and consistent dialogue with each other. However, this is not the case. ► JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
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DIALOGUE to ACTION Antiracist Programming to Eliminate Racism, YWCA Delaware’s Racial & Social Justice program strives to transform communities by changing consciousness, promoting inclusion and solidarity, and cultivating skills in individuals to advocate for justice and inspire a movement.
How to Be an Antiracist
Community Summer virtual book study, Dr. Ibram Kendi’s book, sign up online. At YWCA Delaware we get up and do the work of antiracism everyday. You CAN do something now to help. Join us and give TODAY to support our work. Contact us about our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program On the Menu.
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The lack of communication between the two generations has been oversimplified and often brushed off as the “Arrogance of Youth” versus “Out of Touch Old Folks.” Gen Zers will joke that OGs don’t know how to use social media or even smartphones (some truth to that). At the same time, OGs say Gen Zers often lack the patience and understanding to strategically affect political and economic change. The Baby Boomers’ similar experiences can contribute to their causes (some truth to that, too). Clearly, both groups can learn from each other to create societal, political and policy change with more dialogue and by being less judgmental. Gen Zers have the energy, massive minority representation and sheer numbers to effect change. OGs can contribute their personal contacts with decision makers, politicians, and key influencers while using lessons of experience as guides for how to implement political strategy. I strongly encourage both groups to reach out to each other in their common cause for change; that both generations identify key influencers in both groups to ask for and offer assistance; and that both groups work towards mutual respect, based on experiences and mutually beneficial contributions. This would be a start in bridging the communication gap between them and working together for change. And, at the very least, OGs might better learn to operate their smartphones and use social media . . . and Gen Zers might gain valuable insight, contacts with key influencers, and even land a job to help them move out the houses of the OGs, who are providing a roof over their head and food on the table. Or, as my mother always said, “Boy, I’ll slap you into yesterday if you don’t listen to me.” — Jeff Taylor is a Senior Vice President for DeTv (Ch. 28 and www.detvch.com) and an “OG” Baby Boomer, who during his youth also lived and thought like a member of Gen Z.
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Barbara Devan has brought her successful brand to Wilmington with the debut of Tasties 302 on N. Market Street.
Tasties 302 owner Barbara Devan talks candidly about opening in a pandemic, the protests, and the challenges of being Black in America By Jim Miller Photos by Butch Comegys
t’s a Saturday afternoon in mid-June on Market Street, and the take-out line for Tasties 302 flows through the front door and out onto the street, 15 customers deep. By the look of it, Wilmington’s newest soul food restaurant does not have a problem attracting customers. That doesn’t mean it’s been all smooth sailing, either. Only nine days after the COVID pandemic pushed Delaware to halt restaurant dine-in service, Tasties 302 held its grand opening. Then, just two-and-a-half hours into the March 25 take-out-only event, the restaurant was forced to temporarily shut down by the Wilmington Fire Inspector. “I didn’t know I had to have the fire department come and do walk-through [beforehand],” says owner Barbara Devan. “I had 100 or
so people out here. It was the most embarrassing thing ever. “But one thing I can say [is that] the Department of Licenses and Inspection and fire department helped me out so much to get me reopened fast. I really, really have another level of respect for the City of Wilmington, because they were really behind my back. “They were like, ‘We are going to help you as much as we can.’ It was all very, very overwhelming with so much support.” Devan has been a Delaware resident for 13 years. Before opening the Market Street location, she had been commuting to Philadelphia for eight years, where she has two Tasties locations, in West Philadelphia and Germantown. Both casual eateries operate similar to the one in Wilmington, offering traditional soul-food items such as fried chicken, wings, baked mac & cheese, and collards. ► JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
EAT SOUL POWER continued from previous page
Cook Thomas Castellanos prepares a take-out meal of grilled salmon, collard greens, and candied yams at Tasties 302.
Next to the original Tasties location in West Philadelphia, she added a fine-dining version in 2018. “The store next to me went up for sale,” Devan says, adding the situation provided the opportunity to do something different. In addition to elegant light fixtures, posh furnishings and a cocktail bar, the newer location in West Philly offers higherpriced entrees such as fried lobster, beef short ribs and lamb. Although Devan was open to new ideas, she had not seriously considered opening one of her Tasties-brand restaurants in Wilmington until recently. She admits it was her son’s idea. He had been persistent for years. “I was looking towards Newark,” Devon says, “But my son said, ‘Let’s just try Wilmington. It’s a mixed community, urban.’ So we went downtown, and then I just fell in love with the area. “We went at 11 o’clock in the morning. There was so much foot traffic. None of my other restaurants have that much foot traffic. It was like all cultures just walking past. And it just inspired me to want to open here.”
“Only Time Can Tell”
The pandemic presented its own challenges for a newly opened business. Then came the night of Saturday, May 30. As was the case in many cities and towns across the country, a protest had been held in response to the death of George Floyd, the Black Minneapolis resident killed while being restrained by White police officer, Derek Chauvin, during an arrest attempt on May 25. Following the otherwise peaceful protest—which moved from Rodney Square to I-95, then back again—a mob of angry people vandalized and looted more than 50 businesses in the downtown area. “I was there to witness it on my own, in the midst of a rally that turned into a violent rally,” Devan says, who adds she was thankful her restaurant was spared from the mob. Devan describes the violence and theft as being a negative response, believing the backdrop of the pandemic created a baseline “level of frustration,” with people out of work, having little or no money, and suffering from the anxiety, uncertainty and isolation the disease has caused. She says she relates to the issues of social inequity and justice reform, which have fueled protests across the country—and perhaps contributed to the anger on the night of the May 30.
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Happy and hungry customers Sabrina Tyler, left, and Sierra Butcher both from Wilmington, are all smiles as they wait for their take-out lunch order.
“Everyone is frustrated,” Devan says referring to her experiences being Black. “We go through a different type of level of life that other people don’t. We're frustrated, we’re angry and we’re getting abuse [with] no justice behind it. How can the police officers keep hurting us [without] even getting charged right away? It’s just not right. “Just because of the color our skin, it’s like we’re always get treated a different way. I have White friends. I’m not racist. I’m not one of those women that don’t like White people because of what they did to us or what they’re still doing to us. “We’re not still living in the 1800s. It shouldn’t be going on. But it is… which is sad.” Still, Devan sees signs of hope. “Not all White people hate Black people,” she says. “Not all Black people hate White people. There’s a lot of White people who feel really, really bad for us.” Could restaurants, like her Tasties 302, perhaps serve a role in all of this? Might the places that traditionally bring people together to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and job promotions also be places where people from different backgrounds—Black and White—come together more often than they do? “Yes, but… it’s going to take some time,” Devan says. “Only time can tell.”
A Love for Cooking
History has had its share of lessons for Devan. You could say her family’s history laid early groundwork for her Tasties enterprise. The menus at her restaurants have roots in her past. “It comes from always being in the house with my grandma cooking and my mom cooking Southern food,” Devan says. “I just gravitated to that and ended up making a career out of it.” Devan’s grandmother was particularly influential. “She always made homemade biscuits, baked macaroni, collard greens, candied yams,” Devan points out. “Everything I’m cooking right now—besides my pasta—is something that she actually [cooked].” Nowadays, Devan finds that, between four locations, she’s managing more than cooking, which is a big change from when she first started. And the future could offer even more changes in her role. “I’m still working extra, extra hard until I end up branching off and franchising one day,” Devan says. “But my goals for franchising are basically [hiring] a big management firm. We would still own Tasties and just have the management firm run [them].” JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
Truth & Reconciliation We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —Declaration of Independence, 1776
By Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman
f only those truths were indeed self-evident. Unfortunately, nothing seems obvious in this day and age, when despite pandemic conditions there is much noise at marches and rally venues, political press conferences, and—more than anywhere—on social media. Black and Brown Americans and their White allies are taking to the streets to make it very clear that the endowed rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, were never truly extended to all, legally and systematically. Not at our country’s beginnings. Not after the abolition of slavery. Not, still, today. As a Black American woman, even one born with a good deal of privilege, this is a self-evident truth with which I grew up. What is also clear is there are those for whom these protests are uncomfortable and questionable. Some may
find it difficult to swallow as truth, assertions that don’t mesh with their own lived experience, education and sense of history. Even for those open to understanding, it can be difficult. If it feels like we live in a society headed for a bitter divorce, perhaps it’s because we never fully realized reconciliation after our last separation—a Civil War not yet 200 years in our past. Assuming we really want to get through this period of great difficulty and stay together as a nation, how do we actually do it? Truth. Reconciliation. We know what these words mean individually, but brought together, truth and reconciliation is, in fact, a term used to describe a specific, accepted practice. It’s a public exercise that seeks to restore stability to a society experiencing instability based on festering historical wrongs. It offers a society of individuals—each
walking different paths with diverging worldviews—a collective opportunity to understand the fullness of their shared society, to offer a platform for real action towards the realization of our common potential by owning and rectifying missteps, old and new. The most famous example of this process occurred in South Africa, when Nelson Mandela established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a court-like body. It confronted human rights abuses that occurred during racial apartheid, in order to move towards more peaceful, democratic rule. It allowed victims and perpetrators of abuses to come forward, add their experiences to the official record, and receive rehabilitation, reparation, or an opportunity to atone for their role in the abuses. This restorative justice model has been replicated elsewhere, including the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, formed just last year. Delaware’s own Bryan Stevenson (born and raised in Milton, Delaware) in 1989 established the Equal Justice Initiative, whose mission is greatly informed by the concept of truth and reconciliation. It works to ensure our history is understood so that communities can heal—“changing the narrative about race in America.” The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was formed in 2008 and ran for seven years, with a focus on documenting the history and impact of residential schools in which Indigenous students were boarded, thus separated from their communities. It conducted hearings that offered survivors of this abusive school system opportunities to share their stories. Extensive research was analyzed and compiled, along with 94 related recommendations for action to achieve reconciliation among Indigenous and Canadian people. Four years later, over 70% of these recommendations are either complete or being pursued through active projects and proposals. What would truth and reconciliation look like in America? Certainly human rights abuses experienced in our own nation are both historical and currently occurring. What if we started here in Delaware? Where would we start?
In this context, we have a ripe moment to commit to reflecting on our local history. We might start with the fact that, in 1865, Delaware was one of only four states to refuse to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery. Consider that, despite being a Union state, it would take Delaware 36 years before it ceremonially ratified that amendment in 1901. What must have been the experience of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for Black Delawareans during that period of time? Or in the years since, that resulted in systemic barriers to that pursuit? It is difficult to piece together a puzzle of who we are and where injustices lie, without a full understanding of the roots of disparities experienced by diverse citizens in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. We must all know all of our history to better understand the lives of our neighbors, and how our everyday actions contribute to social integrity, or lack thereof. Is there a systemic connection between the 2015 killing of Jeremy McDole at the hands of Wilmington police to the heroic elevation of Caesar Rodney, a Delaware founder and slaveholder? If so, how do we mend the deep rifts that make this so? Building common understanding as a society is no easy feat, particularly when, looking along racial and socioeconomic lines, it has never existed before. Not in Delaware, not in America. But as Americans, we have always touted our strength, and that strength means fearlessness in confronting ourselves, not as individuals but as a nation with a history. We can no longer rely upon self-serving perceptions of our neighbors’ weaknesses to disregard calls to do better. A house on such a cracked foundation can never stand. Delawareans have an incredible opportunity to open ourselves to reconciliation with one another, by speaking truths and seeking to reconcile conflicting ones into a renewed narrative. Only then can we chart a course to better serve all as we lean into our future.
...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, were never truly extended to all, legally and systematically. Not at our country’s beginnings. Not after the abolition of slavery. Not, still, today.
JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
THE CITY FOUR FAMILIES MOVE INTO NEW HOMES AT WALT’S WAY ON CITY’S EASTSIDE
ayor Mike Purzycki announced in June the completion of the Townhomes of Walt’s Way, a housing complex on Vandever Ave. built on the site of the former iconic restaurant, Walt’s Flavor Crisp. All four homes have been sold to individual families who have already moved in. The affordable housing project was begun in 2016 by the Wilmington Housing Partnership (WHP), which was unable to complete it due to financial problems. At the Mayor’s directive, City Real Estate and Housing Director Bob Weir stepped in to manage the project’s completion. “These families are starting a new portion of their lives in the Townhomes of Walt’s Way,” said the Mayor. “Affordable housing is very much needed in Wilmington, and when the WHP couldn’t complete Walt’s Way we knew we had to finish the job. Soon, we’ll celebrate additional affordable housing opportunities on Bennett St. where Habitat for Humanity has stepped up in a big way to complete another former WHP project on the eastside.” The new housing complex honors the memory of Harry Sheppard, the former owner of Walt’s restaurant who died in 2011 at age 84, and commemorates the role that the restaurant played in the history of the local community. In 2016, the City ceremonially renamed the 500 block of Vandever Ave. as Walt Samuels Way to honor both Mr. Sheppard and Walt Samuels, the original owner of the restaurant.
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‘CURBSIDE WILMINGTON’ LAUNCHED DOWNTOWN
n mid-June, the City of Wilmington, Downtown Visions, and The Committee of 100 launched “Curbside Wilmington,” an initiative to support local businesses and encourage patrons to return to the rejuvenated Downtown District this summer. “Curbside Wilmington” enables restaurants to expand outdoor dining into former parking spaces directly in front of their businesses, thereby allowing more seating at safely spaced distances to comply with Gov. Carney’s guidelines. Also, curbside pull-in spots are designated throughout the Downtown area for all businesses, both retail and restaurants, to use for pick-up and curbside delivery. Mayor Mike Purzycki hopes to see this new business reopening model applied to other restaurant districts in the City. “We’re bringing back the vibrant, exciting heart of the Downtown Restaurant District, which the pandemic virtually shut down overnight a few months ago,” said the Mayor. “While businesses small and large across Wilmington are struggling to adapt to the new environment, we are happy to partner with our friends at Downtown Visions and The Committee of 100 to lend support to businesses trying to meet new challenges.”
A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO OUT & ABOUT MAGAZINE
MAYOR PURZYCKI APPLAUDS SUPREME COURT DECISION PROTECTING LGBTQ WORKERS, ISSUES NEW PRIDE MONTH PROCLAMATION IN JUNE
ayor Purzycki hailed the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on June 16 protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace. By a 6-3 margin, the justices ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that a key provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act—Title VII, which bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons – includes bias against LGBTQ workers. Last July, Mayor Purzycki joined the Coalition of Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination to file a “friend of the court” brief arguing in favor of the LGBTQ employees who claimed their dismissal for being gay, lesbian, and transgender violated federal law. “This court ruling supports all effort toward equality nationwide and is in line with my vision for Wilmington as a just city,” said the Mayor. “In Wilmington, we strive to treat all members of our City-wide community with equal respect. We draw strength from our diversity and our work to advance the cause of civil rights for our LGBTQ residents is part of Wilmington’s growing attraction as a wonderful place to live, work, and enjoy life.” Mayor Purzycki also issued a Proclamation designating June 2020 as LGBTQ Pride Month in Wilmington. This comes one year after the historic Pride flag-raising ceremony in Rodney Square, which marked the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall uprising in New York that led to the so-called gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. The full text of the Mayor’s Proclamation can be found at this link: wilmingtonde.gov/Home/Components/News/News/4953/225
A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO OUT & ABOUT MAGAZINE
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AUGUST QUARTERLY, CELEBRATING FAITH AND FREEDOM SINCE 1814
ugust Quarterly has promoted Peter Spencer’s themes of community, hope, salvation, selfdetermination and liberation in various Wilmington locations since 1814. The festival now begins at Peter Spencer Plaza —named for the former slave, who organized 31 churches and several schools – and for years has ended at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, named for abolitionist Thomas Garrett and freedom conductor Harriet Tubman. “Moving the festival to the park brought families together,” Lawrence “Moon” Roane, a festival chairman for more than 25 years. “It was very nice that first year and very nice every year since.”
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Unfortunately, concerns about the coronavirus have led organizers to cancel three events in the park and have left aspects about other events up in the air. The festival—Delaware’s oldest folk festival and the nation’s oldest African American festival celebrating religious freedom, freedom of speech and the right of assembly—began with Spencer. He led a group that founded the Union Church of African Members in 1813. August Quarterly, which started the next year, “became a kind of Independence Day for Black people on the Delmarva Peninsula,” according to www.augustquarterly.org. “The Big Quarterly … has remained a time of reunion, religious revival and celebration of freedom.”
WORSHIP SERVICES RETAINED
This year’s festival begins at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, with a service, led by the Rev. Shirlyn Henry Brown, and a wreath laying ceremony at Peter Spencer Plaza, 800 N. French St., Wilm. Five revival services are scheduled this year—inside, outside or virtually—with plans to be updated as needed for Delaware regulations on gatherings, says Renita Roane-Brown, coordinator of festival religious activities. She says committee members are researching how to host virtual services and have also talked about hosting revivals outdoors. Currently, they are planned at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at Ezion-Mt. Carmel Church, 800 N. Walnut St.; Aug. 25 at Bethel AME Church, 604 N. Walnut St., Aug. 26 at Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist, Church, 20 W. Lea Blvd., Aug. 27 at The Resurrection Center, 3301 N. Market St., and Aug. 28, Mother African Union Church, 812 N. Franklin St., all in Wilmington. The festival is planned to end at 9 a.m. Aug. 30 with a service led by the Rev. Sylvester Beaman at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison St., Wilmington. Those attending all services are asked to donate nonperishable food. The annual souvenir booklet will be produced, with 2,000 copies distributed. But the closing events— Youth Day, the Gospel Explosion and the Big Quarterly, which for years have drawn crowds to Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park—have been canceled. “Delaware is rich in history, and you can’t have that history without August Quarterly,” Roane-Brown says, pointing out the Peter Spencer Heritage Hallway Museum at the Mother African Union Church. Roane is a living part of that history. The 80-year-old became involved in the festival when he was 17. “Ever since I have been hooked,” he says. — Ken Mammarella
edicated in 2012, Tubman-Garrett Park was named for two famous American abolitionists, Thomas Garrett, who lived in Wilmington’s nearby Quaker Hill neighborhood, and Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery but went on to escort many enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Led by Garrett, Quaker Hill was a place where slaves traveling the Underground Railroad often found refuge. The park’s location is close to several locations connected to the history of the Underground Railroad, where overall thousands of slaves were able to escape. Tubman is thought to have led many over the Christina Bridge at Market Street, where the park currently resides. The park, and its Tubman-Garrett Statue, serve as a reminder of the past evils of slavery and the courage of those who risked their lives to save others. Tubman-Garrett Park currently serves as home to many outdoor charity events, cultural celebrations, concerts, and other gatherings. Few have as rich a history within the Wilmington community than The August Quarterly, the oldest African-American religious festival in the nation. The weeklong festival is a celebration of religious and cultural freedom, featuring live music, storytelling, children’s activities, and a celebration of African heritage. The festival culminates with a Sunday religious service.
JULY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM
SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY! During this difficult time, there are numerous options on the Riverfront to get out, enjoy nature, and dine from some of your favorite restaurants! The Riverfront is a perfect venue to enjoy the outdoors and walk our 1.75 mile Riverwalk along the beautiful Christina River! Additionally, the DuPont Environmental Education Center is now open to the public. DEECâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nature trails, including the eight-mile Jack A. Markell Trail continues to be fully operational! Get out and enjoy some quality time in nature!
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DINING OPTIONS Riverwalk Mini Golf Opening in July!
Riverfront Restaurants and the Riverfront Market are open for in-house indoor and outdoor dining Banks Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar Big Fish Grill Ciro Food & Drink Cosi Del Pez Docklands Drop Squad Kitchen Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant Starbucks Timothyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on the Riverfront Ubon Thai
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FOR KIDS! HOME WITH LITTLE ONES? The Delaware Children’s Museum will be posting at-home children’s activities on their Facebook page until they re-open! Just search Delaware Children’s Museum on Facebook!
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2 INSIDE 2
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