Richard Allen Coalition Gala Feb. 1 at CHEER Community Center

Howard Stevenson

GEORGETOWN — The 5th annual Richard Allen Coalition Gala set for Saturday, Feb. 1 will feature renowned Dr. Howard Stevenson as keynote speaker.

Tickets are on sale now for the gala at the CHEER Community Center at 20520 Sand Hill Road, Georgetown. Festivities will begin at 4 p.m.

This year’s theme is Celebrating Our Rich Heritage. The 2020 honorees include Bernice Edwards, Dr. Reba Ross Hollingsworth, Marlene Hall, Martina Williams and Peggy Trott.

Dr. Stevenson, a Sussex County native and graduate of Cape Henlopen High School, is a nationally sought expert on the impact of racial stress and racial trauma on everyday life.

He 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. Dr. Stevenson has been recognized many times for his work.

Additionally, Dr. Stevenson 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, Dr. 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 over 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 August 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 continues its work to make the vision a reality. Throughout the year, programs have been held on the grounds of the school.

The U.S. Postal Services issued` a Forever Stamp Feb. 2, 2016, to commemorate Richard Allen, an important figure in the U.S. abolitionist movement, and the founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The coalition seeks assistance to help keep the doors open at the Richard Allen School and ensure the progress continues in 2020. Support options include advertising purchase, sponsor, or ticket purchase.

Gala tickets cost $40 per person or $400 for a table of eight.

To purchase tickets, contact Brenda Milbourne at 302-362-0353. Table sponsors will be recognized in the program and with a table plaque. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

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

For more information, contact Betty Deacon at 302-644-4303 or email betty.deacon@gmail.com; or Jane Hovington at 302-258-7182, jehovahrohi@aol.com; or Diaz Bonville at (302) 528-2265 or Diaz122455@aol.com.