HUDSON – As Hudson celebrates June 15 this weekend, an organizer welcomes everything but encourages people to be aware of the space they occupy at the Black Cultural Festival.
Juneteenth – June 19 – is the day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. President Joe Biden this week signed a law making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Poet and artist Ifetayo Cobbins and drummer Ngounga Badila will perform on an outdoor stage in front of the Flow Chart Foundation at 348 Warren St. at 3 p.m. Saturday. The event is free and open to the public.
The second annual Hudson’s Juneteenth celebration will have festivities from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The event, originally scheduled for Saturday but changed to Sunday due to rain forecasts, is hosted by Tanya Jackson of Hudson.
Last year’s celebration took place in the form of a block party around Bliss Towers. Jackson described Bliss Towers as the zero point for black residents of Hudson who have been displaced and relocated there.
The event included a DJ, free food, a drum circle, street activities for kids, black history coloring pages, and community conversations, including one led by members of the LGBTQ community. and another run by elders.
This year’s waterfront event will be a celebration, Jackson said.
The festival is free and open to the public, but its target audience is the black community, Jackson said. While everyone is welcome, those outside the community should be aware of the space they are taking up – for example, giving way to a black person if an activity is full.
“We welcome everyone but we want people to pay attention,” she said, adding that the purpose of the event is to celebrate black culture and freedom.
The activities are designed to reach all age groups, targeting children, teens, adults and the elderly, Jackson said.
“We try to have intergenerational activities that are both specific to certain age groups, but also invite different ages to come together and do things together,” she said.
There will be craft tables with paint, watercolors, and coloring sheets, lawn activities, and a waterslide.
Participants can join a crochet circle, a braiding workshop, and learn the basics from a local barber.
There will be visual exhibits exposing and honoring Black Hudson’s cultural institutions, past and present.
Jackson has researched black community spaces that no longer exist in the city and believes that each generation has lost a space centered on black culture.
Jackson grew up in Hudson and when she returned to adulthood she struggled to bring black history together in the city. Jackson wants to help create an archive in the future.
On Sunday, people can decorate quilt patches into a community quilt, which Jackson hopes will be assembled in time for the Black Arts Festival in August.
A photographer will take free portraits, which Jackson hopes will fill the pages of a community photo album.
There will also be vendors in the park who didn’t have to pay a fee to set up, Jackson said.
“A lot of black residents do things as entrepreneurs, but they don’t have space, so community events become the place where they can sell their artwork and goods,” she said.
Jackson pointed out that the event is free.
“There is no charge for people to attend,” she said. “There is no cost for sellers to sell. We are not trying to make money. We’re just trying to keep some space for the community as best we can. “
The Hudson Tourist Board, Spark of Hudson and Out Hudson all donated to the event, along with countless community members who made in-kind donations or provided services at a discounted rate. , such as Randall Martin’s audiovisual services, Waterfront Wednesday, workshop leaders, Signs & Wonders, A and G Amusements Party Rentals and Staples, Jackson said. Workshop foremen who receive honoraria incurred for the event before they know they might get one, she added.
“People really come out and say, how can we help? ” she said.
Melodious Thunk, a jazz and world music festival, begins at 3 p.m. with a free music workshop followed by performances at 4 p.m. Groups play until 9 p.m.
After the music, there will be the screening of “Miss Juneteenth” at 9pm
Jackson has mixed feelings about Juneteenth being recognized as a federal holiday, saying the recognition is good, but she is concerned about how federal holidays are commodified.
“I have mixed feelings about this,” she said. “I love the recognition as part of American history. It could be in front of the world in really dealing with American history, in terms of the recognition and type of slavery reconciliation, but the way things get merchant and superficial is where I’m really hesitant. .
As Juneteenth aims to celebrate healing and love for black people, the community continues to struggle, Jackson said.
“Tomorrow and next time, and until June 17, 2022, we have real community issues,” she said. “So what makes me nervous about federalizing things about something that we’re still struggling with is where I hesitate. “
As an example, Jackson saw a flyer from a car dealership about people getting out of interest rates.
Jackson doesn’t think people really understand the meaning of the party, she added.
“While black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth since 1865, it is very recent that so many other people are aware of it,” Jackson said.