By Asia Nail
The Truth Reporter
Prepare for an unforgettable experience as Toledo, Ohio proudly presents its first inaugural Juneteenth NY Toledo Celebration. This Juneteenth, now elevated to the status of a federally-recognized holiday, marks the beginning of an exhilarating three-day extravaganza that will captivate the hearts and minds of all who attend. From Thursday, June 15, through the recognized Emancipation day, June 19, our vibrant city will transform into an epicenter of Black culture, unity, and boundless community spirit.
June 19, 1865 echoes the triumphant notes of emancipation, when the enslaved in Texas learned of their newfound freedom, two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The air pulsated with cries of joy, blending with the whispers of liberation, creating an orchestration of jubilant laughter and tears of elation.
Now, Juneteenth is a holiday woven with the vibrant colors of unity, where diverse voices unite in a chorus of celebration for African-Americans reclaiming our heritage with pride.
Juneteenth NY Toledo’s Celebration pulsates with vibrant rhythms of positivity!
This year’s theme, ‘Kaleidoscope of Black Culture,’ showcases the brilliance of Black creativity with its boundless depths of ingenuity, and the awe-inspiring innovations that have shaped history. Prepare to be immersed in a sensory feast as the event unveils live performances that electrify the air, exhibitions that champion vivid storytelling from our own perspectives, and tantalizing aromas of authentic local cuisine that dance through the atmosphere.
“What began as a humble gathering has now blossomed into 37,000+ attendees expected to attend our various events this year,” shares Kathleen Greely, CEO of Community Reinvestment Coalition – Englewood SW and JuneteenthNY Board Member.
“Every corner of our first inaugural Juneteenth NY Toledo Celebration beckons with an invitation to explore and indulge in the richness of Black culture.”
Greely has been a board member of Juneteenth NY for the past three years, sharing, “Our partnership with Toledo includes an urban strategy and workforce development solution in response to the 40 percent unemployment rates in Englewood and Junction Districts.”
The Greater Toledo Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees, driven by a proactive vision, has approved grants to address the pressing concerns of communities disproportionately impacted by inequity and limited access in the greater Toledo area.
Among the recipients, St. Martin De Porres Parish has been awarded this remarkable $40,000 grant. This funding serves as the catalyst for launching a groundbreaking resident-driven leadership training program and a transformative job readiness initiative in the Englewood neighborhood. Collaborating closely with the Community Reinvestment Coalition – Englewood SW and Robinson Elementary.
The Juneteenth NY Toledo Celebration augments this urban strategy and workforce development solution while directly responding to the needs highlighted by the grant award. “This expansion will forge diverse community partnerships, promote equity and inclusion within urban spaces, and allow us to gather in unity as we celebrate the profound richness of our Black history,” says Greely.
Overflowing with pride, Greely declares, “We take immense pride in establishing the Juneteenth NY Toledo tradition and Celebration, a momentous occasion that stands tall as one of the largest gatherings of Black individuals, committed to uplifting one another and providing an extraordinary space for the flourishing of creativity, culture, and Black excellence.”
In recent news, we have witnessed attempts to diminish the importance of Black history and African-American studies. However, events like the Juneteenth NY Toledo Celebration & Workforce Development possess the transformative power to educate, uplift, and enlighten the people of the Englewood District and surrounding communities.
They aim to champion change by ensuring that Black history, both past and present, takes its rightful place at the forefront of societal consciousness. By creating a safe haven within the Robinson Elementary school campus, Juneteenth NY Toledo Celebration & Workforce Development are not only reshaping the narrative but also paving the way for enduring change that will leave a lasting generational impact across Northwest Ohio and beyond.
Robinson Elementary & Robinson Park
DAY 1: Exciting Career Extravaganza & Concert (Thursday)
Embark on a thrilling journey of career development & job readiness, featuring both resume and interview preparation sessions. As adults immerse themselves, you are free to bring your children to the Kidz Zone, full of surprises and giveaways to keep them busy. Attendees can also engage in captivating panel discussions exploring the realms of entrepreneurship and mastering the art of nurturing a flourishing Pop-Up Shop venture.
Immerse yourself in an array of community services. “Discover a realm of holistic healing and care resources, too. We are supplying access to exceptional elder daycare facilities, along with a myriad of child daycare providers,” says Kathleen. “You also don’t want to miss live musical performances by Toledo’s own Dr.P and Lisa ‘The Oracle’ Hightower.”
Robinson Elementary & Robinson Park
Day 2: Job Fair (Friday)
Over 100 Employers and Community Organizations will be represented for this urban strategy and workforce development solution at Robinson Elementary campus. Stop by, network and enjoy local vendors, Black business and an amazing assortment of onsite food trucks.
The Toledo Club (Juneteenth, Monday)
DAY 3: Kings of Kwanzaa Celebration
On Monday, June 19, the Juneteenth NY Toledo Celebration will host its signature event, The Juneteenth Celebration of Kings Toledo Awards. Inspired by the Kwanzaa Principles, this Awards Reception will honor and recognize the achievements of 28 Black Kings raising our nation from within the Toledo community.
“Each man honored will receive an award based on one of the seven Principles of Kwanzaa, they most represent through their work,” explains Greely. “It was beautiful that the community of Toledo chose to recognize its men after several community discussions and dialogues about equity.”
The Black man holds significant importance within the Black culture. First, he often serves as a pillar of strength, providing emotional support, guidance, and stability. As a father, he plays a crucial role in the upbringing of children, imparting values, discipline, and cultural heritage.
“The Black man’s presence is essential in challenging and combating societal stereotypes and systemic barriers faced by the black community,” says Greely. “We look forward to a myriad of future community directed discussions and celebrations around our Black women and children, too.”
The Juneteenth NY Toledo Celebration & Workforce Development extends an open invitation to the community, promising a transformative journey that will enlighten minds, empower spirits and set the stage for a future brimming with progress and equality. Let us stand hand in hand, embracing the transformative power of Juneteenth as it heralds the dawn of a brighter and more inclusive tomorrow.
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