Longtime Local Advocate Honored In Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE — Ron Felton, former president of the NAACP Wilkes-Barre Branch, will serve as grand marshal for the city’s Multicultural Parade on Sept. 15, Mayor Tony George announced Thursday.
George also proclaimed Sept. 15, 2018, Ronald L. Felton Day and presented a written proclamation to Felton during a press conference in council chambers.
“Ron’s going to be our grand marshal for our second Multicultural Parade, but he’s the first grand marshal that we’ve had,” George noted before reading the proclamation that listed Felton’s accomplishments and awards and examples of his community service and work to promote diversity.
“When the mayor called me and asked if I would (be) grand marshal, I was so deeply honored,” Felton said. “When I moved here almost 30 years ago, I was hoping to give something back.”
Felton noted that his community involvement began with the South Wilkes-Barre Mini Mohawks football team, for which he served as president.
After that, he was elected president of the NAACP Wilkes-Barre Branch, overseeing racial summits and the annual Diversity/People’s Picnic during his 18-year tenure from 1996 to 2014.
“It was about bringing people together, about looking at some of these things that are going on to try to, with the racial summits, give people a setting where they would be free to talk about the different stereotypes that we hear so much about and are able to talk and try to work things out,” Felton said.
He said the Diversity/People’s Picnic at Kirby Park was a result of the summits.
“People come and you may not know them. But when you leave, you leave knowing a friend. But when you see someone one the street, you can say, ‘Oh, I met you at the Diversity Picnic.’ So we were very proud of that,” Felton said.
In the nearly 30 years he and his family have lived in the Wyoming Valley, Felton said “things have changed for the better. Now, does that mean there’s no other changes (needed)? No. But things have definitely changed through the efforts here.”
George said the city’s first Multicultural Parade “was such a success that we have almost doubled the participants this year … and it’s thanks to people like Ron Felton and our different groups.”
George said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving for a proclamation and a day in his name than Felton. “He’s promoted diversity since he’s been here. Nobody did more than Ron did to bring this community together,” George said.
Felton had praise for George in return.
“The mayor, he delivered on his statement about the MLK Day. It was in his first term. No one before him was as serious and took the lead in actually making that happen,” Felton said. “It’s a win for the entire community.”
George and his administration successfully negotiated with the City Hall workers and Department of Public Works unions last year to replace other paid holidays with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Felton, 65, said he’ll be serving as Eastern Sectional director of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference for another year before officially retiring. As director, he supports 20 NAACP branches in the east, with Philadelphia being the largest.
He was joined on Thursday by his wife of nearly 40 years, Peggy Felton. The couple, who reside in Wilkes-Barre, have a son, Ronald R. Felton, daughter-in-law, Janell Felton, and three granddaughters, Anaya, Amarea and Talaya.
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PARADE AND FESTIVAL
Wilkes-Barre’s second annual Multicultural Parade will begin at 11 a.m. on South Main Street, at South Street, and will continue toward Public Square. The festival will begin on the square immediately after the parade and will feature food, music and entertainment from members of Wilkes-Barre’s diverse community.
Find a list of festival vendors with this story at citizensvoice.com.
Multicultural Festival Vendors
• The Rock Shop
• Liya Xue
• Harry Karey’s
• Tarot for Living (Tarot card reading)
• Michelle’s One Stop Paparazzi
• Henry Duszak (crafts)
• NEPA Recreation (bounce house)
• Trading Faces (face painting)
Nonprofit information tables
• NAACP Youth Council
• Legendary Support Coordination
• Luzerne County Community College
• King’s College
• Catherine McAuley Center
• Action Together-NEPA
• Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
• Sweet Home Health Care
• AFS-USA DelMarPa Team
• Integrity Staffing
• The McGowan Hispanic Outreach Program
• King’s College Multicultural & International Student Club
• Letts Eat (Indian)
• Sammy’s Caribbean Grill (Caribbean/Jamaican)
• Hartman’s Jerk Center (Jamaican)
• Snook’s Wings & Things (Barbecue)
• Manning’s Ice Cream
• Tony Thomas Catering (Gyros, shish kebob)
• St. Anthony & St. George Maronite Church (Lebanese)
• St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church (Syrian)
• Tyre Square (African American)
• W-B Deli Grocery (Hispanic)
• J&J (Italian)
• St. Nicholas Church (Dominican)
• Nico’s Pizza (Italian)
Multicultural Parade Participants
Wilkes-Barre City Police Honor Guard
Grand Marshal Ron Felton
Mayor Tony George and Family
Wilkes-Barre City Council and Controller
Local Elected Officials
Wilkes-Barre Police Department
NAACP Wilkes-Barre Youth Council
St. Anthony & St. George Maronite Church
Rolling Mill Hill Residents’ Association
St. Mary’s Antiochian Church
St. Andre Bassette Parish
Nealon, Jones & Holgren Family
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Mascot Tux
GAR High School Marching Band
Peace & Justice Center
97.1 & 95.7 BHT Radio
Schiel’s Family Market
Arts in Movement
2018-2019 Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Kennedy Wood
2018-2019 Cherry Blossom Festival Princess Lily Davis
USA National Miss Keystone State Princess Bethany Santey
DJ Donnie Evans
HAAC — Hispanic Affairs Advisory Council
WAAC — Women’s Affairs Advisory Council
BAAC — Black Affairs Advisory Council
Coughlin Marching Band
Luzerne County Community College
South Wilkes-Barre Mini Mohawks
NEPA Antique Automobile Club of America
King’s College Multicultural & International Student Club
Wilkes University’s Student Organization of Latinos (SOL)
St. Nicholas Church Dominican and Mexican Parishioners
STA — Student Transportation of America
Hartman’s Jerk Center
Wilkes-Barre Fire Department