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Clarion Juneteenth Closes 16th Year with Brenda DeDe’s Retirement

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:06 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

35237521_10105921491640223_2871613192780382208_nCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Last week’s Juneteenth program and celebration at Clarion University was the last one for Dr. Brenda DeDe who is retiring this summer after 23 years.

DeDe, a native of Texas, (pictured above) started the Clarion observance of Juneteenth 16 years ago.  The event began in Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, slaves in Texas didn’t receive word that they were free until two-and-a-half years later, on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth is the celebration of that freedom.

“As I leave, I am hopeful that the foundation has been laid, and they will continue it as a force in the community and be educational and informative,” said DeDe. “The university has been quite supportive of the initiative and helping to finance it and making sure we have a program every year, and I would hope that continues.”

One of the highlights of Juneteenth has always been the speakers who are informative and educational. The audience received this year’s speaker Rev. Mark Elliston (pictured below) of Christ Episcopal Church, Oil City, very well. Rev. Elliston is active in supporting people in the recovery movement, among other things.

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“The speaker’s message was very powerful regarding how we should be more loving and kinder and more aware of the feelings of others,” said DeDe.

Joseph Croskey worked with DeDe this year for Juneteenth and will continue to serve as director accepting the mantle from Brenda.

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Throughout her tenure with Clarion University, DeDe has worked with students, faculty, and administrators to help solve issues and problems. She is a charter member of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education.

The Clarion Chamber of Business and Industry named Dr. DeDe Citizen of the Year for 2016. In 2012, she was recognized as Clarion University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Volunteer for her work both in the community and at the university. Among her outstanding contributions are founding and chairing the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast, the Juneteenth program and the campus Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

She is a Clarion Borough Councilwoman and has served with the Clarion Area Chamber, Borough Planning Commission, Kiwanis Club, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, SAFE domestic violence agency, Clarion County Community Choir, and First Baptist Church.


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