About us

Founder: Bernie Wilkins 

Mr. Bernie

Upon reflection, it now seems that increasing awareness of Juneteenth was a predestined event, In 1943, I was born into a world of a “segregated” society in Virginia. I then migrated to a “segregated” society in Delaware in 1950. I also served in a “de Facto” segregated military after high school and in college in 1966. Until college, I had been taught, “That’s the way it is.” “But, the awareness of racial identity and racial identity created a period of activism that continues today. That activism is being fueled by the need to learn how to best learn the “How” and “Why” of the African- American heritage.
The significance of Juneteenth was expressed to me during a work-related trip to Alabama in 1997. My co-worker from Milwaukee asked what we were doing that year to celebrate Juneteenth? I replied, “What’s Juneteenth?” From that moment on, learning about Juneteenth became a passion. I learned the meaning of the word “Homecoming.”
On June 19, 1865 they captured the city of Galveston, Texas after several failed attempts has been made in the last bastion of slavery. They were informed by General Article 3 that they had been emancipated by President Lincoln 2 1/2 years earlier. Slaves in that moment were unsure of what to do, but the majority knew that they wanted to go “home.” Those who chose to migrate to Canada, the mid-west and the far west continued to celebrate June 19th as their Fourth of July. This celebration of Freedom in the metropolitan areas of the country have annual attendances that frequently exceed 100,000 people.
It is my passion to see the Observance of Juneteenth become a national event. It is important that we can identify and celebrate specific occasions of freedom for our people. Juneteenth is not or should not be limited to certain geographic areas. “All African-Americans were affected by this proclamation. This is another opportunity to celebrate freedom.

President: Sylvia Lewis-Harris

Sylvia Lewis-Harris

Sylvia Lewis-Harris was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee.  She attended and graduated from the Davidson County School District.  She holds an AA Degree in Biology from Cumberland University of Tennessee and earned a BS Degree in Biology with a double minor in Psychology/Child Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University.  She was married for 28 years and is the loving widow of the late Fred W. Harris also of Nashville, Tennessee.  She has two sons, D’Angelo and Michael and three grandchildren, D’Angelo, Akara and Zala.  Not unlike most parents, her family has been a major source of joy and strength.  Her experience as Executive Director of local Youth Development agencies has fueled her passion, love and appreciation for youth and families. She spent over 20 years along with years of corporate Project/Implementations Management experience.  She is currently in transition and served with the Wilmington City Council.  She has been a member of the Delaware Juneteenth Board of Directors for over twenty years and strives to continue its legacy of cultural and family enrichment.

Through years of service she received honors for Outstanding Member Service – Delaware HIV Consortium along with the City of Wilmington Awards Recipient for Heroism 2006.  Her professional affiliations include; State of Delaware Community Planning Group (Health & Social Services), Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and Delaware Juneteenth Association Board of Directors.

 

Pageant Director & Treasurer: Sandy Clark

Sandy Pic

Sandy is a native Delawarean. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Springfield College with a B.S. Degree in Human Services. Even though retired, she is a consultant, lending her services to The Lighthouse Project Prevention Coalition, a non-profit organization catering to youth programming. She is an active member of Simpson United Methodist Church.

Her affiliation with the Delaware Juneteenth Association (DEJA) has proven to be one of her most rewarding accomplishments.   DEJA brings activities to the city of Wilmington in June of each year celebrating the freedom of the last slaves on June 19, 1865.  As part of the Annual Juneteenth Celebration, she has directed the Juneteenth Youth Pageant which will be celebrating 21 years. She became inspired by being chosen 3rd runner-up in the Mrs. Delaware Pageant in 1989, never dreaming she would someday be able to use this experience in helping young ladies.

Sandy provides programming surrounding self-esteem, identity and career development, service learning, poise and etiquette, spiritual development, academic achievement and expression through the arts.  By her actions and years of service, Sandy has shown her dedication and commitment to empowering the next generation of leaders.

She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and received an Unsung Heroine Award from the Sigma Zeta Omega Chapter for her diligence in Community Service.  She was also nominated for a Kids Count Award for Community service and an Employee of the Year Award from the Division of Family Services.  Other recognitions include being selected by the News Journal as one of the “Top 50 People Who Matter in the State of Delaware” and a national recipient of the “50 States in 31 Days of Giving” Community Service award from Happiness Happens.  Her most recent accomplishments were a Community Impact Alumni Award from Springfield College and induction into Duffy’s Hope Hall of Fame.  Sandy says she owes all her accomplishments to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

"No Peoples are free until all Peoples are free" – Unknown

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Delaware Juneteenth Association

"No Peoples are free until all Peoples are free" - Unknown

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