NAACP’s annual picnic in the park celebrates diversity
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.
Lilyana Lord-Knowlin, 4, is all smiles at the Wilkes-Barre NAACP 19th annual Diversity/People’s Picnic in Kirby Park on Saturday.
Wilkes-Barre Police Patrol Commander Ron Foy chats with guests at Saturday’s picnic.