Juneteenth

Photo by Hillie Chan on Unsplash

When I think of Juneteenth, I see one hard-won step on a very long journey. May we continue to climb that mountain and reach a higher place. Photo by Hillie Chan on Unsplash

This second official Juneteenth happens to fall on Father’s Day. I find that fitting somehow, as I pause to consider what it means to be a good man and to give gratitude for all who father.

The official site for Juneteenth is here. It commemorates that July 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. It is good to see the growing acknowledgment and honoring of its significance among broader communities through events and such. Some are listed here in the LI Press . Others are in this piece from News12 LI.

Of course, being forcibly set free and actually realizing the stated promise of this nation are two different things. Another good way to honor this day is to study history, both before and after that day, and to reflect on how, while Juneteenth itself recalls a moment of triumph worthy of celebration, it was just one hard-won step on an ongoing journey toward “a more perfect union,” and far from the end of disparity in the treatment of human beings.

I am grateful to all who have given their best to advance civil rights and to create a more just world. May we honor ongoing endeavors to more fully realize the acknowledgment and admonishment entailed by our nation’s Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

One local organization focused on just that is ERASE Racism. Here, in their most recent newsletter they ask how folks are celebrating Juneteenth, share some of what they offer and are focused on, and offer a wealth of diverse and broader resources for exploration.

Check it out

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: To Reflect and Serve

Photo of MLK Monument in Washington DC

The third Monday in January is reserved to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is the only federal holiday formally recognized as a national day of service, “a day on, not a day off.” In the spirit of listening and thinking first, people are warmly encouraged to study the works of King, and to devote time to serious reflection on how we will endeavor toward a healthier, more just world for all. Here are some ways you can learn about and advance his legacy.

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Gifts of our Facebook Feed: Mastic Beach Ambulance Company, William Floyd School District, Northport Main St. Group, Northport-East Northport Public Library

We know these are just a few of our neighbors who’ve been giving it their best to be of service with their Social Media time. We love to hear about more!

The Mastic Beach Ambulance company has been sharing all sorts of great stuff, including their own efforts to keep Long Islanders fed, as well as tended to in emergencies.

We thought it was them generating these great profiles of local EMTs. They’re still probably the easiest place to find them, but we’ve realized it was the William Floyd School District that was soliciting and sharing them.

Now, they’ve turned to highlighting their Class of 2020.

Meanwhile, the Northport Village and Local Business Community is a model we think every downtown should follow! This group lets small businesses post their wares and how they’re offering them, as well as all sorts of information critical to the community.

Finally, WE LOVE LIBRARIES! While missing their visitors dearly, they are continuing to do wonderful things for the community. Last time, we mentioned the 3D Printer Army helping make shields for first responders. Lately, we’ve simply been loving the Facebook Feeds.

While we highly recommend following all of Long Island’s libraries, the Northport-East Northport Public Library seems to really be on a roll lately. Follow their Facebook page, scroll down through the past few weeks — it’s wonderful…

 

In Praise of Local Crafters and their Kind Consideration

Mask crafted by Firefly Michele Miroff

While it is totally not cool that ANYONE has. had to scrounge for PPE – especially essential workers, ESPECIALLY healthcare folks! – We have decided to be grateful that out of that challenge has come a beautiful, thoughtful, heartfelt art form. 

We can hardly get close enough to look each other in the eye and yet now so many crafty people have found a way to lovingly hug our faces.

And…because, on balance, masks themselves really are more courtesy than personal protection, we immediately get to pay the care forward. 

And…it’s not a bad business. They’re fairly simple to make and yet imagination is the limit. People need lots of them….

So…talk about socially conscious fashion that is form and function!

Trudy has been busily making them for family and neighbors. In our Firefly Lights, you can read about Kirk Larsen and his #maskforce #teachersgettingitdone

Did you see this article about the Luchador in Mexico?

How about this much more local bit in The Observer about The Engeman Theater?

CBSN New York shows a 95-year old Floral Park seamstress who’s part of a volunteer corp founded in Huntington “Stitched Together Long Island” that has made more than 20,000 masks for essential workers.

The Mask Mavens of Huntington is a small team of volunteers that are sewing and giving away homemade masks for free to any and all who need them.

This article in the LIBN by Bernadette Starzee is about three entrepreneurial firms who created 5,000 masks a day to sell at cost to hospitals and first responders.

This News12 Article covers a Bellmore Fashion Designer who, with her remotely-working staff, churned out 1,000 masks in one week to donate to medical personnel.

Here’s a North Fork Patch article “Iconic Sail Makers, Brewery Make Face Masks for Hospital Heroes”

To make them yourself, and get good advice on using them, here’s a good article in Popular Mechanics.

In Gratitude for the Good News Makers

Thank you, John Krasinski and all involved in “Some Good News”!

We are even more grateful that, while there are very special aspects unique to SGN’s own scale (say…that Hamilton thing a few weeks back, or more recently those amazing commencement conversations), these bits shared from across the country are but a small sampling of what’s happening right here, right now in our own backyards.

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Have You Seen the Rainbows?

A child's drawing of a rainbow

Just a little ray of hope to brighten the lives of the child in all of us. It started with a Facebook group called “Rainbows over Nassau and Suffolk Counties”. and, we think, also a call to chalk up neighborhood driveways that we first heard about from our beloved Lois Howes. of the Friends of Freeport.

It involves sticking rainbows in your window, coloring your driveway, posting pictures. Our dear Firefly Beth Atkinson has been hiding rainbow rocks on her walk for the curious children of Northport to find….

It’s a small thing that means a lot. Be a part of it, will you? It can be a rainbow, it can be an act of service. The world needs all the love and support it can get….

A Tribute to John Kominicki

We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of our local heroes: Journalist, publisher, wellspring of ideas and ever entertaining and insightful master of many ceremonies, among other things: John Kominicki.

As publisher of the Long Island Business News – the position that first brought him to grace our Island — John not only practiced excellent business journalism but served as a great force for the dissemination of broader ideas and the advancement of the common good. Highly intelligent, exceptionally well rounded, and deeply influential, he had a knack for recognizing and convening great people. His sense of humor made everything he did fun…and real.

Our personal experience of John relates to our involvement with Vision Long Island. As a founding board member in the early 2000s John offered full page ads in LIBN to help our motley little crew of community oriented folks advance Smart Growth; a complicated, interest-bridging idea that few understood, much less supported. That was huge, but really the least of what he did for us. When we think about all those who helped build the momentum that effected the amazing Smart Growth Summit we got to marvel at a few weeks ago, John figures prominently. Really, though, that was among the least of his contributions to this funny Island he chose to make his home.

In addition to his major contributions to journalism on Long Island, we believe John’s various efforts to advance the innovation economy and broader economic development were deeply significant. We were very excited to see how his qualities would manifest as the new head of the LI Press. Now, we are hopeful that he is on to some greater assignment.

Here are a few of the many tributes, each worth reading in their own right:

Remembering John Kominicki, by Jaci Clement in the Garden City Patch

John Kominicki, LI journalism icon, dies, by David Winzelberg in the Long Island Business News:

Remembering Publisher, Editor, Writer John Kominicki of Stony Brook, by Warren Strugatch in TBR Newsmedia

Icon, Journalist, Husband, Father, Friend, by Gregory Zeller in InnovateLI: Inside the New Economy

John Kominicki: Advancing Unconventional Wisdom on LI, by Nancy Douzinas Rauch in the Long Island Index

Remembering John Kominicki, written by LISTNET’s Peter Goldsmith for the Long Island Press

John, In his own words, and here accepting an award for being an Outstanding LI Journalist.

Said Vision Long Island in their Smart Talk Newsletter, “There are very few people as unique and dynamic as Mr. Kominicki. Certainly someone who made his mark in almost any area and group of people he put his focus into. We were honored to have worked with him and prayers go out to his family, colleagues and loved ones.”

Said Jed Morey of Morey Creative Studios, “John was a journalistic giant on Long Island without exaggeration. Yet LI was only one part of his long, glorious career and we were lucky to have him for as long as we did. He balanced journalistic integrity with keen business sense better than anyone in the game. Period. He was sharp. Clever. Funny as hell. Going toe-to-toe with him on a panel was an exercise in futility because he simply had more literary, cultural and political references immediately available in his back pocket. When he took the helm of the Long Island Press it was a triumphant moment of validation for our work all those years. A seal of approval from the best of us. There are so many people that will be hurting from this news. Prayers and love to his family. John, you could have taken your talent anywhere but you chose Long Island and for that we are forever grateful.”

In honor of John and his endeavors to help us recognize so many notable Long Islanders, we will be making space here to remember people whose lifetime contributions to the Long Island community continue to inspire us. As we formalize plans for precisely how to do this, we invite you to submit nominations of folks you find worthy of enduring remembrance..

Wherever you are now, John, please accept our great thanks. Our hearts are with all who love you.