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Monday, May 20, 2024
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We From Upstreet Honor Pair at Tree Lighting

Corrine Lockhart displays a plaque honoring her son Herbie Sunday at the 'We From Upstreet' Christmas celebration.Though the festivities were scaled back this year, We From Upstreet’s annual tree lighting ceremonies in Franklin D. Roosevelt V.I. Veterans Memorial Park still delivered an abundance of Christmas cheer to the smaller group of residents that spent Sunday afternoon chatting, dancing to live holiday music and catching up with old friends.

The event, which continues Monday and Tuesday nights, was also a big hit with the pack of children that either came out with their parents or took the stage to sing with the Gladys Abraham Elementary School’s choir. Unlike most days, when the park sees only a handful of locals sitting and enjoying the surroundings, families sat together on benches, set up chairs to enjoy the music or snacked on some of the treats brought by the We From Upstreet members.

The play set was crowded with children, who huddled in packs to drink juice boxes or swap candy while a cool Christmas breeze stole through the park. Then, just before the switch was turned on, the kids gathered en masse for the countdown, their eyes going wide when all the trees lit up with hundreds of bright yellow, green, red and blue lights.

This year’s ceremony was dedicated to the memories of Herbert "Herbie" Lockhart and Jacintha Mescus, two of the organization’s most active members who passed away this year, said Yvette Finch, program coordinator for the event.

"Their contributions were great," Finch said. "Herbie spent 14 years with us, and Jacintha assisted us for the past few years, particularly with the Christmas program. Every year we like to dedicate this event to one of our members, or those who have helped us throughout the community."

Lockhart’s brother Ronald accepted an award from the organization Sunday night on behalf of his family, saying afterward that We From Upstreet was one of his brother’s favorite groups.

"I’m only now finding out how generous he was and about all the great things he did," Ronald Lockhart said. "And this is really a nice event — a beautiful way to spend a Sunday in the park."

Mescus’ sister, Winifred Scott, also spoke of how much the organization meant to her sister, who passed away in February at age 48.

"I didn’t know this before, but I’ve been told how helpful she’s been over the past few years," Scott said later. "She would always come to the park, help with the decorating and with the kids. I think she must have really enjoyed it."

Two trees – one covered in green lights and the other with red – were also lit Sunday in honor of Lockhart and Mescus.

The program wrapped up a little after 6 p.m. with spectators joining Finch, Scott, members of the Lockhart family and first lady Cecile deJongh – who reminded residents to think about others in need during the holiday season – in singing "Joy to the World."

Events pick up again at 7 p.m. Monday with We From Upstreet’s Cultural Night, featuring the likes of Milo’s Kings and other local acts, then again at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a quelbe and jazz night, featuring music by Barefoot Davis, Louis Taylor and Friends and jazz ensembles from the Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean high schools.

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