Juneteenth magnifies mid-year milestones

Rev. James A. Forbes Jr.
Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., senior emeritus of Riverside Church in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 speaking at the funeral of Percy Sutton, a former Tuskegee Airman, a media mogul, power broker and pioneering civil rights attorney who represented Malcolm X.
Associated Press/Richard Drew/File

Six months into the year 2022, June has arrived.

The mid-year calendar month starts on a Wednesday and ends on a Thursday.

Offering 30 days to renew, reflect and perhaps resume gardening and other outdoor obsessions, there are a myriad of abounding activities slated.

Significant to the African American community is the commemoration of Juneteenth on June 19.

In keeping with a tradition started in 2016, a free, concert will be held at Carnegie Hall.

Hosted by Rev. James A. Forbes, senior emeritus, Riverside Church and president and founder of the Healing of the Nation Foundation at Carnegie Hall, the event is open to the public who can access a maximum of four tickets at the web portal carnegiehall.org.

“Juneteenth in its truth of the worst days of our history and the highest aspirations of our democratic ideals will serve as the perpetual summons to the best of which we are capable. As nations around the world cry out for liberty from tyranny and war, Juneteenth tells us that no matter how dark the night, or how bleak the circumstances, people of hope will always be prophets of possibility. Each year when the story is told on Juneteenth may we find fresh inspiration for brighter days ahead,” Dr. James A. Forbes said.

It is the “holiday that commemorates our nation’s true independence—the day when all members of the newly reunited nation were finally declared free after the American Civil War.”

“How blessed we are as a nation to have a national holiday to remind us that only as people united in freedom and justice will be able to realize the American dream,” he added. “While we continue to wrestle with partisan division and ethnic conflict, the great Spirit calls us to be the “Beloved Community” the creator had in mind from the first days of human existence.”

The host of the ceremony made that statement prior to the slaughter of 10 African-Americans in Buffalo, New York and 19 children and two teachers in Uvelde, Texas, one week apart in May.

In his retrospective address about the genesis of the holiday, he said the annual observance of freedom from slavery will honor Sonia Sanchez and Opal Lee during a ceremony emceed by actor David Allen Grier.

Performances will include piano recitals from Joseph Joubert, spoken word recitations from Naima Penniman gospel renditions by Hezekiah Walker & the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir.

Creative body movements can be expected from Forces of Nature Dance Theatre. And a bonus is guaranteed when the New Jersey Youth Symphony and Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble takes the stage.

The Carnegie Hall ceremony is only one of many Juneteenth commemorations slated to mark the historic emancipation and June anniversary of 1865 which signaled the abolition of slavery in America.

Solemn services, panel discussions, theatrical productions and an amalgam of tributes to the martyrs will magnify the momentous milestone date.

Also on the June calendar is the acknowledgement of Black Music Month by the entertainment industry.

Throughout the period outstanding African Americans are exalted for excellence in entertainment.

Simultaneously, during the month of June immigrant diasporans revel Caribbean heritage throughout the timeframe dedicated to achievers from the region.

In addition, June seems to be the chosen month that couples commit lifelong dedication by vowing marriage. It is also the time students culminate years of study with graduation ceremonials.

Mothers are pampered in May but June devotes a day for dads to claim Father’s Day. A rainbow also colors June when the Lesbian Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans-sexual Queer (LGBTQ) community exhibits Pride.

And this year HRH Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 70th anniversary reign on the British throne. The 96-year-old monarch will be regaled with pageantry of pomp and ceremony in honor of her Platinum Jubilee on June 5.

As in other months there are lesser known observances — June is also National Safety Month.

June begins the summer season.

And for those residing in Coney Island, Brooklyn, it is the time a Mermaid Parade flaunts human creatures of the sea.

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