By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
WOODBINE – Jason “Tech” Turner loves riding his motorcycle.
Turner, 41, a communications technician at the Woodbine Developmental Center, said he enjoys the freedom it gives him to feel the wind rush on him on the open road.
He recently combined that love with his interest in social justice to hold a Juneteenth ride through South Jersey leading to the grand opening of the Harriet Tubman Museum of New Jersey in Cape May.
“I’m just trying to do my part,” Turner told Front Runner New Jersey modestly on June 19 as he led a group of motorcyclists from Millville to Mays Landing and then down to new museum.
“I figured I could do something like this to bring people together and bring more awareness and attention with biking. I feel like owe it to my past to do something, to bring something to the future. I’m still learning things that I didn’t even know,” he continued about the unique Juneteenth recognition.
Riding with Rev. Harold Harris, pastor of Cape May’s historic Macedonia Baptist Church, Turner said he was blown away recently when he just learned that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the church some 60 years ago.
“I just found that out,” Turner said in talking with Harris. “I’m still learning our history here.”
He said he hoped the Juneteenth ride and the trip not only to the Harriet Tubman museum but the Cape May County NAACP celebration afterward will rekindle the thrust of knowledge of that forgotten African American history.
“Hopefully, I hope [Juneteenth] every year gets bigger and better,” Turner said. “I hope people start to learn more about culture and history and have everybody look and learn about that history, too.”
Turner, who is big into social media such as Instagram, said the idea for the came through his conversations with his former Woodbine neighbor Alexander Bland, who was then the president of the Cape May County NAACP branch. He said this year. The branch, under Quanette Vasser-McNeal, so-sponsored this year’s ride.
“Alexander was my neighbor when I was a kid in Woodbine,” Turner said. “His parents are still neighbors with my parents. We passed each other all the time. He was the president (of the Cape May County NAACP) last year and that’s when we talked about it initially. We worked with the NAACP this year do to do the ride.”
Turner has been riding since 2007, calling the experience “therapy” for him.
“You just get on and you get to see stuff on a motorcycle that you’ve never seen before,” Turner said. “It’s just very relaxing and peaceful.”
Turner’s brainchild proved to be another unique way many in South Jersey celebrated Juneteenth.
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