NAACP’s an­nual pic­nic in the park cel­e­brates diver­sity

The Citizens' Voice - - LOCAL - BY ERIC MARK STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: emark@cit­i­zensvoice.com 570-821-2117

WILKES-BARRE — The NAACP Wilkes-Barre’s 19th an­nual Diver­sity/Peo­ple’s Pic­nic fea­tured more than free food, mu­sic, games and ac­tiv­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the group’s pres­i­dent, Guer­line Lau­rore.

The event “brings peo­ple to­gether, for fel­low­ship to­gether,” Lau­rore said Satur­day, sit­ting in­side Martz Pav­il­ion in Kirby Park.

The an­nual pic­nic and its mes­sage of unity are es­pe­cially im­por­tant this year “given the is­sue of racial tensions” across the na­tion, Lau­rore said.

No ten­sion was ev­i­dent in the park on Satur­day, as peo­ple of all ages and races en­joyed pic­nic fare, chat­ted and lis­tened to speak­ers and live mu­sic to­gether. The event spread onto the lawn near the pav­il­ion, where chil­dren played and adults set up lawn chairs.

Lau­rore said she was happy that Ex­eter Mayor Her­man Castel­lani, who last month was ac­cused by a for­mer Ex­eter po­lice of­fi­cer of mak­ing racially charged state­ments, chose to at­tend the pic­nic.

Lau­rore said she in­vited Castel­lani to come to the pic­nic when she at­tended an Ex­eter bor­ough coun­cll meet­ing two weeks ago to ad­dress the is­sue of Castel­lani’s al­leged racist re­marks. Castel­lani has re­peat­edly and stren­u­ously de­nied that he made the com­ments.

The visit from a mayor of a small town miles away from Wilkes-Barre showed “the com­ing to­gether of peo­ple in the area,” Lau­rore said.

Lo­cal ser­vice and so­cial agen­cies set up ta­bles at the pic­nic. At one ta­ble, vol­un­teers urged peo­ple to regis­ter to vote, and asked reg­is­tered vot­ers to pledge that they would vote rather than stay home on Elec­tion Day.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the state early in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram for pre-school chil­dren with de­vel­op­men­tal de­lays dis­trib­uted brochures to let par­ents know where to seek help. (They can call the sup­port line 800-692-7288.)

Those chil­dren and their fam­i­lies are “an un­der­served pop­u­la­tion,” said Judy Kresky, early in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram spe­cial­ist for Luzerne and Wy­oming coun­ties.

State po­lice also brought po­lice ve­hi­cles and a team of re­cruiters to the pic­nic.

For in­for­ma­tion on the Wilkes-Barre NAACP, visit http://wb­naacp2306.org.

CHRISTO­PHER DOLAN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Lilyana Lord-Knowlin, 4, is all smiles at the Wilkes-Barre NAACP 19th an­nual Diver­sity/Peo­ple’s Pic­nic in Kirby Park on Satur­day.

CHRISTO­PHER DOLAN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Wilkes-Barre Po­lice Pa­trol Com­man­der Ron Foy chats with guests at Satur­day’s pic­nic.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.