A gravesite is supposed to be a sacred space a space for reflection to honor those who went before us. Evelyn Buck, 91, regularly visits what’s now called the Cookeville Buck Cemetery outside Nashville, Tennessee.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell has been selected as the 2023 keynote speaker for the annual South Carolina Heritage and Humanities Festival, which is in its 12th year of serving the citizens of South Carolina.

The festival was founded by Eutawville native Byron Brown.

The festival will be held at the Eutawville Community Center at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18.

“Given the trajectory of increasing crimes in our local neighborhoods, throughout Orangeburg County and the rest of the State of South Carolina, Sheriff Ravenell is the best choice to share ways in which we can come together as a community of people to build a greater sense of awareness for the need for us to live and work harmoniously together,” Brown said.

“Ravenell’s expert leadership voice must be heard and appreciated in order for the citizenry of South Carolina to adopt a sense of peace and unity in the very nature and fabric of our daily discourses and interactions with one another,” Brown added.

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The theme for this year’s festival is “Serving Humanity with a Grateful Heart.”

“We must push the message that everyone matters and that everyone must be respected with pride and dignity despite our differences,” Brown said.

The program’s agenda will highlight the voices of dynamic leaders by having presentations by Eutawville Mayor Brandon Weatherford and Eutawville Chief of Police Sean Hopkins.

Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright and native resident Herbert Sellers will also share their knowledge and expertise with the audience. Mary E. Jenkins, a former Orangeburg County School District 3 educator, will also share some inspiring words.

Music will be performed by Dr. Morris Ravenell, former Dorchester School District 4 superintendent.

“One of the festival’s goals is to see people once again collectively laugh, sing, dance and celebrate life to the fullest in safe spaces,” Brown said.

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