ABOVE PHOTO: Kenny Gamble
The Philadelphia Community of Leaders (PCOL) and music producer/songwriter, Kenny Gamble will resume a tradition of the Juneteenth Celebration that first originated the Abolishment of Slavery in Texas in 1865 on Saturday, June 18, 2016. The parade/festival will stress the importance of family through a better understanding of the struggles and triumphs of enslaved Africans in America. The Celebration will feature a wide variety of entertainment and educational displays including notable speakers and celebrity guests.
“We want this event to grow with each year that passes,” said Gamble, who serves as chair of the Philadelphia’s Community of Leaders Board. “Historically, the celebration of Juneteenth’s focus has been education and self-improvement, it makes sense for an organization like POCL to sponsor such an event,” Gamble added.
Activities will begin at 8:30 AM on June 18, 2016 with an assembly at Washington Square (or Congo Square, formerly a market for sales of enslaved Africans) in Center City Philadelphia. From there a parade of 300, including high stepping bands, drummers, floats, dancers representing African cultures, soldiers representing our patriotism, and many other exciting activities will attract 5000 expected onlookers in this high traffic tourist area. Mayor of Jim Kenney will join a group of dignitaries who will step from the parade route and place a wreath at the President’s House in solemn memory of the enslaved Africans whose home was there.
The parade will end at the parking lot of the African American Museum, where there will be a Grand Council of dignitaries, in front of an African Bazaar and Market Place. This will be a great opportunity for our leaders to make comments on the importance of cultural understanding for all people.
The African American Museum will be open to the public with special exhibits, entertainment and panel discussions to occur there until 7:30 PM.
Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.
For more information about PCOL’s Juneteenth Event, sponsorship opportunities, and/or volunteering, please call 267-721-3906 or visit philadelphiacommunityofleaders.org.