Saturday, June 5, 2010

Celebrating Juneteeth

The Juneteenth Festival highlights the African American culture.  It is an all American celebration with diverse attendance and participation by communities across the county. The holiday celebrates freedom, hope and change.  It is a reminder that the quest for freedom has been an ongoing, hard fought battle.

Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day. It is a moment to appreciate the African American experience. It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities. Juneteenth serves symbolically, and in reality, as a reference point from which to measure and appreciate the progress and contributions made by African Americans to this society.

It is a day on which honor and respect is paid for by the the sufferings of slavery. We acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath. On Juneteenth, we talk about our history and realize because of it, there will forever be a bond between us.  We think about the time when blacks were still enslaved in Galveston, Texas.  The freedom bell rang six months later. We can imagine the depth of their emotions, their jubilant dance and their fear of the unknown when they became free!

The Spirit of Juneteenth

Programs and events are celebrated across America. 'Freedom' did succeed. It is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. It commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865.  The official day is June 19th.  The term - Juneteeth is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 36 states.

Juneteenth is a day that we commit to each other the needed support as families, friends and co-workers. We strive to build coalitions that enhance African American economics. We come together as a community young and old to listen, learn and refresh the drive to achieve. It is a day where we all take one step closer together - to better utilize the energy wasted on racism. Juneteenth is a day that we pray for peace and liberty for all.

The traditions include an enunciated public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation as a reminder that the slaves were proclaimed free. The events are celebratory and festive. Juneteenth revals also include a wide range of festivities to celebrate American heritage, such as parades, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, or park parties that include African American music and dancing or contests of physical strength and intellect.

I will be participating in the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival hosted on Sunday, June 13th from 10:00 - 6:00 pm. The Berkeley Juneteenth Festival highlights the African American culture.  I work for Intercity Services Inc who will be hosting four booths. We will be distributing flyers about about Information Technology skills courses which include a dynamic program targeting Veterans.  After the student graduate, we will assist them their job search. One of our booths will be selling products as a fundraiser to support the non-profit organization. I am also excited that my brother, Patrick Conway in association with Intercity Service, Inc., will be one of the celebrity chefs. This brother can cook!

Through the efforts of those at the grassroots level, to those on the state and national levels, Juneteenth celebrations are now held in most, if not all, 50 states. Over half have passed some form of legislation establishing Juneteenth as a 'Special Day of Recognition.' Several other states have similar legislation pending. The recognition and honor of Juneteenth extends even beyond our borders. There are Americans who live abroad and continue Juneteenth merriment internationally.

I look forward to a very exciting weekend - Happy 2010 Juneteenth Celebration!

No comments:

Post a Comment