Penn Center Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Gullah/Geechee Community
In spite of numerous dialogues with the staff and board of trustees of Penn Center, Inc., a fence is currently being erected at the national landmark historic district which is part of the Reconstruction Era National Monument. The Gullah/Geechee community and residents of St. Helena Island repeatedly stated that they did NOT want Penn Center gated off from the community and wanted it to remain an open and welcoming public historic area. The board of trustees and staff have made statements in the media about reasoning for a fence which has been accurately refuted by the community, yet Penn Center has begun placing stakes in the ground to erect a fence and gate out the community.
Anyone that has learned the history of the displacement of Gullah/Geechee communities are well aware of the fact that gated areas are the primary mechanism used against the community. The gates promote exclusion no matter what reasoning may be provided about them. The native Gullah/Geechee family of St. Helena Island, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation has made it clear that fences and gates are in opposition to their culture and their lifestyle. Yet, an institution that their ancestors built is now becoming a gated area.
In response to the stakes that have been driven through the heart of the community, protesting has begun.
There will be a major march and rally on Saturday, June 30, 2018 beginning at 10 am at the St. Helena Elementary School. The St. Helena Island family is calling on the global community to stand with them and refuse to go through the gate.
They are also calling on those that support building community and not fences to sign this petition that the Concerned Citizens of St. Helena Island has launched: