by Jennifer Strickland, Juneteenth of Buffalo, PR Chair
Every year, around this time, the excitement level of the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo’s volunteers, and all who are responsible for the Festival’s decades of dominance of the first “teen” weekend in June, is high, exhilarating, and full of enthusiasm. And, though Sankofa Days and the following weekend of events previously scheduled in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, will be presented over virtual platforms, the excitement has transcended as far as this year’s content on the worldwide web, where the reach is unlimited.
The experience of going from outdoors and physically connecting through hugs, handshakes, and high-fives, to our new reality of physical distancing, masks, and maximizing the use of today’s technology, is in sync with the Festival’s 2020 theme, “Free and Clear: The Evolution of Juneteenth.” Festival-attendees will journey through clips of nostalgia, brought to the community through 45 consecutive years of the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo, and stay aboard, as new, often live content continues to support the theme.
The Juneteenth Buffalo Board of Directors is excited to announce and present, during the Festival, the exclusive premiere of human trafficking “Shero” Kelly Diane Galloway’s movie, Sold Next Door. A must-see for all, from middle schoolers to seasoned citizens, the documentary brings faces to the stories of former victims of modern-day slavery.
Another first for the Buffalo Festival is its collaboration with the Watertown, NY Juneteenth Festival that was cancelled by its organizers, due to the pandemic. Through this ujima (collective work and responsibility) effort, performance artists and special guest, Professor Gloria Browne-Marshall, J.D., prestigious attorney, educator, and author, will participate in the Festival.
This year’s festival will come as close as possible to mirroring our previous 44 years of outdoor events held on Jefferson and Fillmore Avenues, and in MLK, Jr. Park. The Western NY community, and anyone in the world, who has access to the internet, will be able to enjoy the variety of options that they’re used to, from the comfort of anywhere, in the world.
The 2020 Festival is dedicated to the memory of three remarkable woman who, immeasurably impacted the Buffalo Festival: Bessie Robinson and Claudia Sims, Festival visionaries and founders; and Agnes Bain, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Center.
Here’s your weekly Festival update:
•Sankofa Days – Mon., June 8 – Fri., June 12, 2020 – 6:00 p.m. – New content nightly
•Saturday/Sunday – June 13 -14, 2020 – 10:30 a.m.
Prayer and Praise * Parade * Health * History * Arts and Culture * Sports * Edutainment * Education * Book-sharing * Board of Education Arts Projects * Children and Youth Activities * Entertainment * Special Messages * The Maafa Memorial * …and so much more
Peace and Love!