In a world that is not always kind and not always connected, there are moments in history that allow us to stand tall and engage.
The recent Juneteenth Celebration in DeLand was one of those. With more than 50 vendors and hundreds of diverse community members enjoying food, history, fun and entertainment, it was truly memorable.
A new addition to this year’s celebration was a friendly softball game, sponsored by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the City of DeLand Parks and Recreation Department.
“It was a great fellowship and an honor to pay homage to the legends of the Negro National League,” Andre Darby said.
Team members included West Volusia NAACP President Sean King; Oliver King, longtime community advocate and his son, Emmanuel King; DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger; police Sgts. Tony Tagle and Josh Santos; artist and community advocate Andre Darby; longtime community advocate Darren Darby; past NAACP President Mike Williams; Volusia County Sheriff’s Capt. Ben Yisrael; Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood; Chief Tim Morgan and Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Ray; Man Up mentees Jalen Brown, Devon Mitchell and Jasyas Fletcher; Leon Butts; Jamil Cunningham; Eric Moss; and Chelvis Williams.
“Events like this bring community and police together, fostering relationship-building and trust, which is at the heart of the DeLand Police Department’s community policing philosophy and our mission statement, which says in part ‘that we will strive to develop positive relationships with our diverse communities and improve the quality of life for all community members,’” DeLand Police Chief Umberger said. “All we do at the DeLand Police Department to safeguard the lives and property of the people we serve, and to reduce the incidence of crime and the fear of crime can only be accomplished through solid relationships with the folks in our community, whom we serve and who partner with us to keep our communities safe.”
These relationships with Sisters Build Network for Girls Inc. and Man Up Mentoring and with law enforcement will continue to grow, with more than 50 students who are mentored and supported in the program throughout the year.
“Members of the DeLand PD and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office had a great time playing softball with community members at the Juneteenth Celebration! Thank you to Dr. Primrose Cameron and Sean King of Sisters Build and Man Up for inviting us! And thank you to the City of DeLand Parks and Recreation Department for use of the field, and to Sheriff Mike Chitwood for furnishing shirts for all the players,” Umberger said.
For those interested in learning more about becoming a mentor, send email to email@example.com.
— Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.