Local native Jaelon Moaney urged the audience to consider the cost and personal role in social growth of our country.
Mr. Moaney graduated from Easton High School in 2015 and Williams College in 2019.
In his keynote at the Annual Chesapeake College Black History Month Luncheon, Mr. Moaney spoke of Frederick Douglass and the pioneering work of forcing the country to grow. Black History Month, he said, is as much about encouraging continued growth as it is about honoring history.
Douglass famously took a handful of Eastern Shore to his later home in Washington D.C. as a reminder of his personal history. Mr. Moaney said he too carried Talbot County soil to his new Washington home.
Mr. Moaney urged the audience to remember those who came before as they walk the ground on Delmarva. The fertile soil of the peninsula, he said, supported the productive regional farms that led to the area being named The Bread Basket of the Revolution. The area also proved fertile for revolutionary ideas about freedom and social change.
“The soil of the Delmarva Peninsula remains fertile. The youth of Delmarva are living proof of that,” he said. “They are our collective future.”
He went on to add, “Black is beautiful. Black is bold. Black is undeniably American. And black does grow.”
Ten area high school students were recognized at the luncheon for academic excellence. The honorees were: Paige Black and Kayla Holmes of Caroline County, Sa’Shea Jones and Oyeronki Oyerinde of Dorchester County, Thomas Goldsborough and Jamera Christy of Kent County, Christian Willits and Shannon Billups of Queen Anne’s County, and Victoria Gomez and Tavia Roberts of Talbot County.
The event invocation was delivered by Rev. Jerald Graham, pastor of Ross Chapel and Coppin AME Churches. All 4 Him Dance Ministry performed a liturgical dance. A poetry reading by Brittany Jones of New Beginnings UMC was also featured.
The 2020 luncheon, sponsored by the Chesapeake College Multicultural Advisory Committee, raised $2,000 for the J.C Gibson Memorial Book Scholarship Fund at Chesapeake College. The scholarship was named for Mr. Gibson who was a longtime employee of Chesapeake dedicated to student success. Over the last 32 years, the scholarship has helped economically disadvantaged students buy books and supplies.