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STAND4LAND JAZZ BRUNCH FUNDRAISER
July 7, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
The STAND4LAND JAZZ BRUNCH on May 5, 2019 will be the first in a unique series of 6 monthly, First Sunday fundraisers, which are designed to benefit the “HELP SAVE GULLAH-GEECHEE LAND CAMPAIGN” of the non-profit Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network, Inc.
All proceeds from the brunches will be used for two purposes: To either pay the delinquent property taxes of land-rich, but cash-poor descendants of enslaved Africans who once labored on sea island plantations from North Carolina to Florida, or to redeem Gullah-Geechee property that has already been auctioned to the highest bidders at delinquent tax sales.
Each brunch will be a themed event spotlighting dynamic entertainment ranging from jazz and gospel music to the blues. Local poets and storytellers will also be invited to participate in these much-anticipated communitywide fundraisers. Anyone interested in helping to prevent any further loss of ancestral Gullah-Geechee homes and land is welcome to join this critical fundraising effort.
STAR STUDDED KICK-OFF
We’re extremely fortunate to have popular Hilton Head Island entertainment icons Lavon Stevens and Adam Joseph Martin–two multi-talented performing artists with large followings–donating their time to provide the live entertainment for our First Sunday Brunch Fundraiser series kick-off on May 5th.
Stevens is a highly sought after vocalist and pianist with a national reputation, leads a namesake quartet, and has been one of Hilton Head Island’s top billed performers since 1981. He’s intimately involved with local efforts to save both Gullah-owned land and culture. Among other leadership roles, he’s a member of the Hilton Head Island Planning Commission; Vice Chair of the Mitchelville Preservation Project Board; and Chairman of the Town of Hilton Head Island Gullah-Geechee Land and Cultural Preservation Task Force.
Martin is a charismatic, rising star singer/song writer/and performing artist best known for his stirring acoustic guitar performances, and thought-provoking lyrics.The Connecticut transplant and father of two adorable children, has formed deep friendships with some descendants of freed West African slaves, who bring a unique pattern to the tapestry of American society known as Gullah-Geehee culture. Martin will open for Stevens.
Because Gullah-Geechee culture is land-based, decades of almost unchecked land loss means that the people celebrated for preserving among the strongest African cultural retentions in the New World–are struggling to survive amid upscale gated communties and resort developments, as well as the gentrification of desirable coastal cities.
Hilton Head Island–which is the site of historic Mitchelville, America’s first self-governed Freedmen’s Village circa 1862–has suffered a storied loss of valuable Black-owned waterfront property. Some of that land, including popular once segregated North End beaches, had been in local Gullah families since the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
Less than 1,000-acres still remain in Gullah hands on HHI. Many HHI Gullah families lost, or were forced to sell their land and became permanently displaced. And with few exceptions, the remaining Gullah families battle soaring property taxes, stifling zoning and land management ordinances, and mind-boggling tactics by greedy developers and their allies.
Since 2015, the “HELP SAVE GULLAH-GEECHEE LAND CAMPAIGN” has provided a safety net of technical, referral, and financial assistance that has prevented the loss of Gullah-Geechee-owned property with an assessed value of over $6-million, according to tax records in Beaufort, Colleton, Georgetown, and Horry counties in South Carolina. And we’re just getting started!