Sullivan’s Island, SC – The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission has been selected by the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) to participate in the 57th Inaugural Parade on January 21, 2013. More than 2,800 applications were submitted to the Joint Task Force-National Campaign Region website – more than double the over 1,380 organizations that applied to take part in President Obama’s first inauguration. The historic parade will follow the swearing-in of President Obama and Vice President Biden.
“The talented groups chosen to participate in the Inaugural Parade reflect the spirit, values, and diversity of our great nation,” said President Obama. “Vice President Biden and I are honored to have them join us in the parade.”
The Gullah Geechee Commission was established by Congress in 2006 and extends along the coast from Wilmington, NC to St. Augustine, FL. Commission Chairman Ronald Daise said, “It is indeed an honor to participate in this event, to showcase our support and appreciation of President and First Lady Obama and his administration. We glad op fa dis hona an cyan hol we head op high, fa true!” he said in Gullah Geechee language. “That means, ‘we can truly take pride and hold our heads high with the realization that our heritage has shaped American culture.’ That’s what our participation means. We no longer need to be ashamed of our language, our ways, or our history.” Daise is a native of St. Helena Island, SC, and serves as Vice President for Creative Education at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC. “Our float will be vibrant. It will represent our unique African American culture, which has direct linkages to First Lady Obama, our folk life and traditions that continue to impact the American cultural fabric and influence military families who reside in communities of the 11 military bases throughout the four-state Corridor.”
The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is the only one of 49 National Heritage Areas that celebrates a living culture of an African American population. The Commission has a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service.
“The Gullah Geechee Commission has been making significant progress in its mission to protect and preserve this tremendous cultural legacy,” said Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC), who sponsored the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Act. “I believe its inclusion in the 2013 Inaugural Parade will bring added attention to its efforts and would be especially relevant for President Obama’s inauguration.”
Contributions are welcome, Daise said, as federal appropriations will not be used for Commissioners’ expenses. Visit the Corridor’s website, www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org, click Donate, and specify: Inaugural Parade.