Chester Justice Celebration
On July 30, 2022, CRCQL, Chester Heals, and The Yes Center collaborated with Swarthmore students working in Chester for the summer to host the Chester Justice Celebration. Youth were invited to come down to the MJ Freed Theatre from 12-3pm to learn about all the ways that the community has been able to fight injustices. Speeches were given by three prominent community activists, including CRCQL’s Ms. Zulene Mayfield to inspire hope in the youth at the event.
Every hour, the youth listened to a speech about an aspect of how justice is fought for in Chester. Ms. Twyla Simpkins, known as Chester’s modern day historian, discussed Chester’s history and provided a glimpse into the rich archive of artifacts held at the Yes Center. Ms. T also discussed her efforts to document the inspiring female change-makers in Chester in the present, bringing some of the inspiring community leaders to meet the children.
Reverend Hilda Campbell discussed systemic racism in Chester and the ways in which these violences are still experienced in the community. She discussed the importance of fostering healing from not only violences in the present, such as the tragic death of her grandson who was a victim of gun violence, but also from the legacies of slavery and continued systemic racism that still affect Chester today.
Finally, CRCQL’s Ms. Zulene Mayfield talked to the youth about the environmental injustices in their community, filling their air and their lungs. She outlined the successes of CRCQL and the real ability to protect one’s community when people pull together and fight. The day ended with the youth being inspired and called to form their own CRCQL youth group in Chester to fight for the health of their community.
The day was also filled with many activities and stations to help celebrate the lessons of the day:
A huge thank you to all the community partners and youth that made the event possible.
If you or anyone you know of are interested in helping to build a CRCQL youth group in Chester, please reach out to us.
Photos taken by JR from Unseen Visuals