Celebrating Queen Quet Days
The first Queen Quet Day honoring Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) was done in Ironton, OH. After the initial mayor declared April 11th as Queen Quet Day, the mayor that took his place did his own declaration making April 16th Queen Quet Day. The native Gullah/Geechee men that were serving time in correctional institutions that also had heard and supported Queen Quet decided to celebrate Queen Quet Week and started to develop Gullah/Geechee Study Groups throughout the prison system. Many of these groups still operate and encourage the use of Gullah/Geechee traditional behavior including having manners, no profanity, dressing properly, and insuring the well being of one another. One of the young men that made sure that such a program was implemented at any institution in which he served got a chance to thank Queen Quet and tell her about what had taken place due to her sending materials to the brothers on lock down and coming to prisons to speak to them and truly help them learn who they are:
Queen Quet was surprised by hearing the reach of the message that she has dedicated her life to putting out in the world concerning Gullah/Geechee culture the same way in which she was surprised at the immediate response when she became the first Gullah/Geechee in world history to speak before the United Nations in Genéve, Switzerland on April 1,1999. She had already been waking each day to seek out information on the historical legacy of her people and to find ways in which to help assist with keeping the people on their land. She has raised tens of thousands of dollars for this effort and worked with Congressman James Clyburn of SC in an effort to direct a minimum of $10 Million toward insuring that native Gullah/Geechees are empowered to sustain their own land and the cultural heritage thereon.
Due to her consistent tireless work on behalf of her people, Queen Quet was enstooled at Sullivan’s Island, SC on July 2, 2000 as the first official spokesperson and head-pun de bodee fa de Gullah/Geechee. She is the head-of-state for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. Her enstoolment drew thousands of people and media from across the world. It also increased the interest of the United Nations in the human rights efforts of this new nation. So, Queen Quet has repeatedly returned to the United Nations and other global meetings since then.
Queen Quet returned to Sullivan’s Island from on her stops on her annual world tour for 2019. She was greeted there by middle schoolers that wanted to pay tribute to their ancestors. She then proceeded with teaching them about the significance of the day-April 1st-and the significance of the location where they stood to pay such a powerful tribute:
The day at Sullivan’s Island was as if Queen Quet walked off the postcard of herself that is sold by the National Park Service at Fort Moultrie into reality once again. That reality was that the same work that she has been celebrated for is still not yet completed due to an increase in the exploitation of Gullah/Geechee culture, history, and traditions by individuals and organizations that are not native Gullah/Geechee. Some of these are local and one is even US government funded to continue to tell of a narrative that does NOT include self-determination and human rights and insures the exclusion of Queen Quet and the Gullah/Geechee Nation from materials and events that they produce (albeit that it is the work that Queen Quet and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition led that created the mechanism through which they operate). It continues to keep Gullah/Geechee culture relegated to something obscure for academics to dialogue about and tourists to attempt to find and take pictures of and write news articles and blogs about. Yet, the $22+ Billion tourism industry of South Carolina alone does not give even 1% of those annually accrued funds directly to the native leadership duly elected by the Gullah/Geechee people themselves nor to institutions that are specifically Gullah/Geechee owned and operated. Even historic institutions that have non-profit status continue to have to compete to get funding and these added new non-profits bearing “Gullah Geechee” in their names without bearing Gullah/Geechee vision are in that pool of those treading water to stay afloat.
Meanwhile, Queen Quet is dealing with real water issues such as sea level rise and ocean acidification and how these are impacting the Gullah/Geechee Nation. She, the Wisdom Circle Council of Elders and the Assembly of Representatives for the Gullah/Geechee Nation have completed several components of the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Plan including the Gullah/Geechee Ocean Action Plan which they released on World Water Day as a government member of the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification. They have also completed the Gullah/Geechee Emergency Management Plan just in time for the beginning of the 2019 hurricane season.
With all of that work completed, Queen Quet spent her special days doing what she does every day-working for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. On April 11, she went to the Bamberg After-school Program to present to elementary and middle school youth. The program location sits with Voorhees College which is a historically Black college or university (HBCU) across the road on one side and Denmark Tech across the road on the other. She was invited by the principal of the elementary school who met her at least a decade ago when she annually worked in Estill, SC with the GEAR-UP Program. Queen Quet continues to get students geared up for their futures as emerging leaders of their communities.
Queen Quet may finally get an opportunity to simply enjoy a day to herself on the final Queen Quet Day of April (There are additional Queen Quet Days during other months of the year in different locations.) which is on April 19th.
When Queen Quet arrived in Houston, Texas for her second journey there, the city was adorned with a miniature Gullah/Geechee village downtown as part of the Houston International Festival. That year, they celebrated “From Ethiopia to the Gullah/Geechee Nation.” In the midst of the cabins and replicated praise house, the mayor of Houston proclaimed April 19th as Queen Quet Day in Houston, TX. With that being the fourth very major day of historic significance involving Queen Quet in April, many supporters of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition (www.GullahGeechee.net) which she founded said, “We might as well celebrate Queen Quet Month!” Although it hasn’t been officially declared yet, Queen Quet still celebrates the entire month as she celebrates every year-shoutin!
Those that tell Queen Quet of the positive impact that she had on them and on their communities have often heard her say
“Tenk GAWD mi libbin ain dey een vain!”
We continue to celebrate Queen Quet Days and we give thanks that she “thinks it not robbery” to give all that she can to and for her community to insure that when she is in the realm of the ancestors, the TRUTH about who webe gwine on! WEBE Gullah/Geechee Anointed People!
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- Tagged: Black history, celebration, Geechee, Gullah, Gullah/Geechee Nation, Houston, Ironton, Ohio, Queen Quet, Queen Quet Day, SC, South Carolina, Sullivan's Island, Texas