LI Celebrates Juneteenth! Special Focus on the Town of Huntington: “Freedom to be Fabulous” & “Freedom Day”

Scroll down for info on “Freedom to be Fabulous,” and “Freedom Day” events in the Town of Huntington. They look amazing!  

The official site for Juneteenth is here. As most now know, it commemorates that June 19th day in 1865, 2-1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and over a month after the last battle of that hard, bloody war, when the last Black American slaves in Galveston, TX were finally set free. The date has been celebrated in black communities for years with street fairs, parades, concerts, and prayer. In 2021 it was finally recognized as a federal holiday.

There is so much happening on Long Island!

Some LI Juneteenth events are listed here in an article by Gina Tabarus in Newsday (Mind the paywall. Please support local journalism). There’s an LI Patch piece here on the 2024 Black Legacy Awards going on at the African American Museum of Nassau County.  Here’s an article from Jerry Barmash in the Garden City Patch about a free concert hosted by Nassau County TONIGHT, (6/15, 8pm) at the Mitchell Field Athletic Complex. Rapper Ja Rule is headlining this event, joined by Civil Rights Leaders, and Clergy.

Suffolk County will host its own celebration on the 17th from 6-8pm in the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge, featuring keynote speaker Rev. Cynthia A. Liggon, M.Div., Assistant Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Riverhead. There will be singers, praise, dancers, artifacts and more. 

There’s so much more if you search the local press we’re so blessed to have! Here, we’ll focus on the Town of Huntington, which is Flyer from the Tri-CYA Getty Initiative for photography students. We'll write more about that soon.SUPER excited to announce that their Tri-Community Youth Agency (Tri-CYA) Getty Initiative photography students recently joined that Suffolk County Juneteenth event as the official event photographers! What an amazing way to get started on their path to becoming professional photographers!

We’ll tell you more about that project soon. Meanwhile, here a few events happening in Huntington:

Community Members, including Leadership Huntington Grads making friends and learning about local environmental issues at "Huntington Awareness Day" back in 2014

A Culture of Community Leadership

I, personally, am deeply grateful for the Town of Huntington’s rich arts and culture community, as well as so many other uplifting organizations and their very intentional cross-fertilization. One thing I have deeply appreciated is community members’ endeavors to gather and uplift our rich African American history. These collected stories range from more prominent folks like the first Black American Published Poet, Jupiter Hammon, to Greenlawn’s famously entrepreneurial “Pickle King,” Samuel Ballton, to artifacts of sometimes unclear origin that share stories of life as a Black American throughout our local history. All testify to the determination of the human spirit to preserve culture and rise above, despite great challenges that continued well after Juneteenth and into today. 

In May of 2021, shortly before the Nation did, Huntington recognized Juneteenth as an official town holiday. For much longer, it has endeavored to build “Unity in the Community.” There’s an event for this, but really it’s much more; a deep endeavor to build complete communities that honor all members. Those involved nurture a spirit of collaboration between the people, local officials, nonprofit groups, law enforcement and others. Together they work overcome systemic injustice, while celebrating what has been accomplished. 

Come be a part of it!

"Freedom to be Fabulous" at the Walt Whitman Birthplace

A “Freedom to be Fabulous” event will be held at the Walt Whitman Birthplace featuring a fashion show curated by Rhonda Gooden of Chez Laa Reine boutique, poetry by social justice advocate Melisa Rousseau, and an exhibit of African American Artifacts from the private collection of Victoria Jackson.
When: Thursday, June 20 at 5pm
Where: Walt Whitman Birthplace, 246 Old Walt Whitman Rd, Huntington Station
For More Information: You can this article by Lisa Pulitzer on Patch and find more information on the Walt Whitman Birthplace website.

Huntington Juneteenth Celebration 2024

There will be a second annual Juneteenth Celebration: “Freedom Day” at Manor Field, organized by the Town of Huntington Juneteenth Committee in partnership with the Town of Huntington with deep involvement from the Heckscher Museum
Bring your lawn chairs!
When: Saturday, June 22, 2024, 1-6pm (rain date: June 23, 3-6pm
Where: Manor Field Park, 110 East 5th Street, Huntington Station
What: Historic reflections, music, dancing, food trucks, giveaways and raffles, Cultural Experiences and much more. The offerings are rich, varied, and incredibly inclusive of the entire community, ranging from folk music to champion level arm wrestling!
There will be representatives from a number of local organizations and important information shared. A broad array of performing and visual arts will include poetry, African Dance, choir music, a youth dance group, and drumming. Some of the incredible collection of African American artifacts in the Reverend Bernadette Watkins’ collection will be on view. Additionally, on-site, community creation events will invite folks to participate in traditional arts and crafts, while collaborative mural work led by artist Maia Gornis will invite all to join in the creation of a banner celebrating the community for the Heckscher Museum of Art.

You can get all sorts of details on the Huntington Matters Website.
(BTW, Have you seen this gorgeous Huntington Matters Community Forum website? I knew Huntington Matters as a Facebook page that evolved into an incredibly well moderated community forum that has grown to 27,000 members,  Now, I see it has its own website and built a community calendar that many involved folks have longed dreamed for. Check it out!!!)