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Richard Allen Coalition annual gala set for Feb. 1

Delaware News Desk
Milford Beacon

Tickets are on sale now for The Richard Allen Coalition’s fifth annual gala, set for 4 p.m. Feb. 1 at the CHEER Community Center, 20520 Sand Hill Road, Georgetown.

The keynote speaker will be the renowned Howard Stevenson. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Rich Heritage.” Honorees include Bernice Edwards, Reba Ross Hollingsworth, Marlene Hall, Martina Williams and Peggy Trott.

Stevenson, a native of Sussex County and a graduate of Cape Henlopen High School, is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, in the Human Development & Quantitative Methods Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Stevenson has been recognized many times for his work. He is the executive director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative at Penn, designed to promote racial literacy in education, health, community and justice institutions. Backed by a $12 million grant from the Robert Wood Foundation and based at REC, Howard also directs Forward Promise, a national philanthropic office that promotes a culture of health for boys and young men of color, to help them heal from the trauma of historical and present-day dehumanization, discrimination and colonization.

The Richard Allen School in Georgetown opened its doors in the 1920s as one of 80 schools built for African-American children in Delaware by philanthropist Pierre S. DuPont. It continued to serve as the heart of the African-American community for more than half a century. When desegregation was implemented, it became part of the Indian River School District, which decided to close the school 12 years ago.

In 2014, a diverse group of men and women came together to form the Richard Allen Coalition with the goal to restore the school so it can once again be a cultural, civic and educational center.

In 2015, the Delaware General Assembly passed a bill which deeded the building to the Richard Allen Coalition. At the bill signing in front of the school Aug. 12, 2015, Gov. Jack Markell said, “In the end, it came down to members of the community who had a vision that they wanted to keep alive.”

The coalition seeks assistance to help keep the doors open at the Richard Allen School and make sure the progress continues in 2020. Supporters can purchase an ad, become a sponsor or purchase a ticket.

Gala tickets are $40 per person or $400 for a table of eight; call 362-0353 for tickets. Table sponsors will be recognized in the program and with a table plaque. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Those who wish to make a year-end contribution can make checks payable to Richard Allen Coalition and mail to P.O. Box 624, Georgetown, DE 19947.

For more, contact Betty Deacon at 644-4303 or betty.deacon@gmail.com; Jane Hovington at 258-7182 or jehovahrohi@aol.com; or Diaz Bonville at 528-2265 or diaz122455@aol.com.