Writer, artist, scholar, educator and neighbor — Della Hardman was warmly remembered Saturday for her many contributions to the Vineyard on the annual day that bears her name and has been celebrated since 2005.

Susan Klein, professional storyteller and Oak Bluffs neighbor.

Usually held in Oecan Park, the celebration was virtual this year due to the ongoing pandemic — but no less heartfelt.

“Della loved the Vineyard and its people, and as an artist, scholar and writer, she was inspired by its beauty and serenity,” her daughter Andrea Taylor said at the event which was live-streamed on YouTube Saturday morning. “And most of all, she connected to its people, especially young people,” she said.

Ms. Taylor and others, including keynote speaker Ibram X. Kendi, author and professor at Boston University, journalist and Oak Bluffs resident Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and storyteller Susan Klein all honored Ms. Hardman in remarks, espcially highlighting her dedication to social justice and teaching.

Savor the moment was Ms. Hardman’s trademark phrase, used every week in her column that she wrote for the Vineyard Gazette for many years.

Ms. Hardman first came to the Vineyard as a visitor in 1925, Ms. Taylor said. She died in December 2005.

Andrea Taylor, daughter of Della.

The event included discussion between Ms. Hunter-Gault and Mr. Kendi about the role education plays in perpetuating racism.

“I think the unfortunate truth is in most states around this country, it is elected officials who are deciding the curriculums in schools, and most of those elected officials want an education that is taught that is going to be hospitable to their own political interests,” Mr. Kendi said, referring to the backlash surrounding teaching critical race theory.

Ms. Hunter-Gault asked him about the prospect of building an anti-racist future.

“I feel that I have to remain optimistic and hopeful,” he replied in part.

And he pointed to Ms. Hardman’s vision for a better tomorrow.

“I didn’t have the pleasure and honor of meeting Della, but from what I’ve read and what I’ve even learned even more today is that she seemed to be the type of person who brought joy to the world,” he said. He urged viewers to heed her lessons and “normalize joy as opposed to normalizing so much hurt and pain and misery.”

Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

Ms. Hunter-Gault recalled the night Ms. Hardman stopped by her house and said she wanted to see a jazz group that was performing, but did not know if in her early 80s she could handle staying out so late.

“Well, the next thing I found out was not only did Della go, she stayed for the first set, the second set and had not one, but two glasses of red wine,” Ms. Hunter-Gault said, laughing. “Now I call that a role model.”

The program ended with Ms. Klein, a longtime professional storyteller, reflecting on the life of her late next-door neighbor.

“Della loved to go town to the post office to interview people. She loved people. She loved all of humankind, matter of fact. She was just so wonderful at conversing,” Ms. Klein said.

After relaying a trove of Della Hardman anecdotes, Ms. Klein concluded:

“And that’s the story of Della as one of the finest neighbors anyone could ever wish to have.”

The Della Hardman Day event can be viewed here.