Gullah/Geechee Drums of Freedom Beating During Summer 2023

The Gullah/Geechee Nation is experiencing numerous major successes that are being celebrated from historic St. Helena Island, SC to points north and south of that epicenter of Gullah/Geechee history, heritage and culture. The major event bringing together native Gullah/Geechees from throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation and around the world will be the annual Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day event on Saturday, July 29, 2023 from Noon to 4 pm on St. Helena Island,SC.

The drums of freedom have been resounding on St. Helena Island due to the continued strengthening of the Cultural Protection Overlay District on the island and the unity of the community. The polyrhythmic sound of these drums is traveling with every wave that strikes the east coast and is drawing others to come into the circle with native Gullah/Geechees at numerous events during June which is “Black Music Month” and the time of Juneteenth celebrations. Part of the reason that the drums are being beaten is because of the recent support for Gullah/Geechee coast resilience from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Department of Defense via the Lowcountry Sentinel Landscape designation and the Southeast Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative (SASMI) Plan. Leaders of the Gullah/Geechee Nation are engaged in all of these things as part of the implementation of the Gullah/Geechee Nation Sustainability Plan and their Ocean Action Plan. It is essential that the environment of the Gullah/Geechee Nation is sustained, protected and healthy in order to improve and maintain the water quality, fisheries and human health of the region.

In order to continue the work to sustain the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation will take the sounds of celebration from the Gullah/Geechee Nation to Washington, DC for Capitol Hill Ocean Week. CHOW will take place June 6-8, 2023, in Washington, DC, and virtually. The theme of CHOW 2023 is “Ocean x Climate.” 

The speakers include tribal and indigenous leaders, climate scientists, business and industry innovators, local community leaders, academic researchers, and policymakers confirmed across eight plenary sessions covering the two days of the conference. More will be added as the conference grows closer. The list is highlighted by Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who will both give keynote speeches at the opening plenary of the conference.  

CHOW will also feature visionary speakers, thought leaders, and ocean climate activists including Queen Quet of the Gullah Geechee Nation, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Dr. Rick Spinrad, Colette Pichon Battle of Taproot Earth, Dr. Peter B. de Menocal of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Dune Lankard of Native Conservancy, Jamie Goen of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Shannon Cosentino-Roush of Finless Foods, Irela Bague of Miami-Dade County, and more.  Queen Quet will be part of the opening plenary for this high level event.

Queen Quet will return from The Hill back to the Lowcountry in time to be a part of numerous celebrations. She will present “Retention of Land and Culture of Gullah/Geechee People” for the Juneteenth at the Jepson lecture at 6 pm on Thursday, June 15, 2023 in Savannah, GA. She will then proceed to Charleston, SC for the Gullah/Geechee Family Foundation‘s 3rd Annual “Gullah Juneteenth” at the Pure Theater on Cannon Street.

This will be one of several Juneteenth events being held in the Gullah/Geechee Nation. The celebrations will culminate with the grand opening of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Center at Georgia Southern University on Juneteenth. Queen Quet and the Gullah/Geechee Famlee will gather in Georgia for this historic occasion as they prepare to journey back to Charleston, SC the following week for the long awaited grand opening of the International African American Museum (IAAM). A series of events will lead up to June 27th when the public will finally be able to enter this monumental institution that sits at the site of Gasden’s Wharf where thousands of Gullah/Geechee ancestors were sold into enslavement. The drums of freedom will sound over this space to signal the era of human rights and freedom that stands on the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast now.

July 2nd is the date to commemorate the day that the Gullah/Geechees came together to stand on their human right to self-determination, establish the Gullah/Geechee Nation and enstool Queen Quet as Head pun de Bodee. The anniversary and legacy of the Gullah/Geechee Nation will be celebrated during “Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week” from Saturday, July 29th to Saturday, August 5, 2023 throughout the coast. Hunnuh chillun ain gwine waan miss de launch! Git hunnuh famlee passes riycha:

The dancing and shouting will continue that week on this resilient Gullah/Geechee Nation coast and we pray that you will join us here this summer in celebration of freedom in our powerfilled nation!

GAWD bless up de drum and disya land whey de Gullah/Geechee dey frum!

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