LaGrange plans October “Celebration of the Journey from 1619-2019”


LaGRANGE, Ga (WRBL)- The City of LaGrange is on a mission of healing– healing the past.

It’s one of the reasons the community says it’s planning the first-ever “400 Years- A Celebration of the Journey from 1619 to 2019.”

The 400-Years observation is a nationwide movement to honor the contributions African-Americans made to building America.

LaGrange announced today that three days of events are planned October 18 – 20 to celebrate it.

You may recall back in 2017, Police Chief Lou Dekmar and the city made national news for apologizing for the murder of Austin Calloway, an African-American man, shot to death in 1940.

Calloway’s family members were among those who attended that public apology.

Chief Dekmar says the apology is just one step in his mission to promote unity and healing in the community–and build a spirit of inclusiveness for all citizens.

Chief Dekmar has received international recognition for his efforts at community inclusiveness, both having been honored with awards and having spoken to police agencies across the country and internationally about building better relationships with citizens.

Below is the City of LaGrange’s full media release on the upcoming 400-Years observation.

Media Release

September 9, 2019

400 Year Events Planned in LaGrange

LaGrange, Ga. September 9, 2019 – 400 Years-The First Annual Celebration of the Journey from 1619-2019 will be held in LaGrange October 18th-20th.

400 Year events are part of a national movement established to commemorate the struggles, influence and contributions made by African Americans over the past 400 years.

The JOURNEY will foster relationships that promote unity among diverse peoples. The 400 Year Journey program will highlight contributions African American have made in America from 1619 – 2019 and build relationships in the community.   

The ultimate goal is to effectuate positive change to reduce and eliminate the harmful forces of racism in our neighborhoods and the world beyond.

Schedule of Events include:

Friday, October 18th, 6:00-8:00 p.m.:  Reception for Artist Annie Greene. LaGrange Art Museum, 112 Lafayette Parkway. Free to the public.

Saturday morning, October 19th, 9:00 a.m.-NOON: Healing through education and information workshops, Callaway Center, 220 Fort Drive. Free to the public.

Workshops include:

·        Improving Law Enforcement’s Relationship with Diverse Communities

·        Intergenerational Trauma 

·        Tracing Our Heritage:  What Happens When Descendants of Enslaved and Enslaver Meet?

·        The Apology: Remembering, Acknowledging, Forgiving, and Healing – The Pilgrimage- The Apology – The Marker/Calling the Names. 

Saturday evening, October 19th, 6:00-10:00 p.m.: An Evening of Elegance Gala including silent auction, Callaway Center, 220 Fort Drive. Mistress of Ceremony is former WSB Anchor and award winning journalist Monica Kaufman Pearson. Essay contest winners will be announced. Tickets $50/person.

Sunday, October 20th, 3:00 p.m.: International Gospel Concert “Music Heals the Soul.” Lafayette Square in downtown LaGrange. Free to the public.

The Task Force Committee members include:
Chalton Askew, Derek Davis, LPD Chief Lou Dekmar, Muriel Dious, Al Eggleston, Corey Faulkner, Bobbie Hart, Lee Jones, Yvonne Lopez, Iris Lovelace, Bettye Ludd, Marshall McCoy, Arthur McFarlin, Pat McFarlin, Charles Norris, Lynn Norris, Van Shrieves, Nicole Spafford, Wanda Walker & Alton West.

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