Tybee Island held their annual Wade-In event in honor of Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 4:10 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Singing, music, and most importantly, remembering the past brought hundreds of people to Tybee Beach Sunday for the annual Wade-In.

”It took bravery, it took compassion, and it took courage. It took all of those things. They took their lives into their hands and they came out, and they came out and got in the water. They were jailed for coming into the water,” Julia Pearce said.

Pearce, referring to the first African Americans to ever enter Tybee’s waters, in an act of protest. Two years later, the beach was desegregated.

Sunday, those that attended the Wade In had the chance to literally follow in the footsteps of those activists.

“It’s a good time for community, it’s a good time for people. It’s a good time for us to come together and know that we are involved in this one struggle to make the world a better place,” Pearce said.

For many in attendance, doing that starts with not just learning about history, but healing from it.

“People really come out here to hear the history, enjoy the freedom songs, then get to this water. I try to teach them that water is healing. So they get out there, and we sing Wade in the Water, and they touch that saltwater and just heal,” Patt Gunn said.

Healing from the ugliness of not just segregation, but also slavery.

“I thought it was wonderful for them to put the Wade In for the desegregation along with Juneteenth and say, ‘It’s alright, we are all rising now.’”

All meaning just that, as everyone is welcome at the Wade In.

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