Though the historic Vernon Faculty in Kansas Metropolis, Kansas, has been closed for many years, the previous faculty lot was bustling Tuesday night as Wyandotte County residents gathered to have fun one thing particular: 913 Day.
The competition featured distributors, stay performances, meals, and actions for kids. It was the conclusion of an all-day celebration in Wyandotte County, with excursions of the Quindaro break and $9.13 specials from taking part native companies.
Joycelyn Strickland-Egans, a longtime elementary faculty trainer in Kansas Metropolis, Kansas, had a sales space on the competition promoting youngsters’s books that she wrote. Strickland-Egans mentioned the celebration meant ‘all the pieces’ to her.
“Our neighborhood has a lot occurring and other people do not all the time hear in regards to the nice issues. They often concentrate on the destructive issues about Wyandotte County,” she mentioned. “913 Day is necessary not simply to the younger individuals, however for these of us who’ve been round some time. It is an opportunity to have fun neighborhood and convey consciousness to the nice issues which might be occurring right here.”
913 Day, named after the native space code, was first acknowledged by the Unified Authorities of Wyandotte County and Kansas Metropolis, Kansas in 2020 as a “daylong celebration of all issues nice in Wyandotte County.” Three Wyandotte County males, Earnest Jackson, Samuel Lockridge and Kendon McClaine, labored with the Unified Authorities to formally proclaim Sept. 13 as 913 Day, however COVID put a damper on the festivities. Tuesday marked the beginning of what planners hope can be an annual competition.
Strickland-Egans mentioned she’s wanting ahead to celebrating the day once more subsequent 12 months. For her, Wyandotte County has all the time been residence.
“I do not suppose I’d be this comfortable wherever else. I do know that generally individuals say should you stay someplace you’re caught there. And I am not caught right here, I can go wherever,” she mentioned. “However I will keep right here and I wish to give again to my neighborhood. They gave a lot to me that it is my flip to provide again.”
Sheyvette Dinkens, chairwoman of the occasion, mentioned the day is not only for celebrating native companies. One other necessary ingredient is commemorating Wyandotte County’s historical past. The competition passed off within the Quindaro neighborhood, which Dinkens mentioned was as soon as a bustling river city. It additionally was a cease on the Underground Railroad.
“I imply the older technology, proper, they know all of the historical past. However I feel even a few of the millennials and Gen X’s and all these of us, they’re actually unaware of what the Quindaro ruins is,” Dinkens mentioned.
Vernon Faculty, the place the competition passed off, additionally has deep ties to Black historical past. Dinkens mentioned it was the primary Black faculty in Quindaro and have become its personal faculty district. Black youngsters couldn’t attend Kansas Metropolis, Kansas, public faculties again then.
Kansas Metropolis, Kansas, resident LaShawn Davis, her daughter and 2-month-old granddaughter have been purchasing on the competition Tuesday. Davis mentioned she went to help her sister who had a sales space there, but additionally as a result of she loves her neighborhood.
“It is about our tradition. I feel we’re underestimated rather a lot. I feel lots of people suppose that we’re all simply cornfields and all the pieces,” she mentioned. “I’ve seen now greater than ever that we’ve got been coming collectively as a neighborhood increasingly in Wyandotte County. 913 has been rising. And I am tremendous happy with it.”
Davis mentioned Wyandotte County has all the time been her residence.
“I have been right here all 40 years of my life and I do not suppose I am planning on going wherever,” Davis mentioned. “It’s simply me, I’m simply the 913 lady.”