The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County (AACCofMC) in partnership with the NJ Legislative District 15 (Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds Jackson and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli) and Outdoor Equity Alliance are holding an inaugural 3-day, city-wide Juneteenth Celebration, which kicks-off today, June 18 through Sunday, June 20, 2021 in the capital City of Trenton. The Presenting Sponsors are Wells Fargo and St. Francis Medical Center.
On September 10, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (S19) which designated the third Friday of June a State and public holiday, known as Juneteenth Day. “Juneteenth was a defining moment in American History, claiming the beginning of African American independence in the country”, said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds Jackson, who sponsored the legislation that became a law. It was time for the commemoration of a pivotal moment in history to become an official state holiday, underscoring its importance to our communities and giving time for reflection on how far we have come and have to go to achieve equality and justice for all.”
Latarsha Burke, Executive Director of AACCofMC, said, “As a Collaborative, we endeavor to be more than just a festival and I was ecstatic and humbled to have been approached by Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson to spearhead this significant event in our capital city.” The goal of the Collaborative is to Educate, Empower and Unite Africans in the diaspora through cultural arts, health and wellness, entertainment and sports. The purpose of this carefully planned and socially distanced event is to highlight a few very poignant and current issues through displays of culture, collaboration, commerce, unity and education. The City of Trenton, Mercer County Parks Commission and many other partners have been working diligently to ensure public safety.
Although the weekend will center on contributions of African American people in our region, all communities and groups are invited to join. The planning committee has been extremely busy mobilizing partners over the past six months. Commitments from Greater Trenton, Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum and the Center for Child and Family Achievement have evolved into a plethora of family centered activities that will be held simultaneously in Downtown Trenton. As a result of collaboration with the Let’s Ride Foundation and the Samuel McCoy Scholarship Fund, a Juneteenth Freedom Day Bike Ride will also start at Mill Hill Park on Saturday and travel throughout Mercer County, with options for novice to advance riders to explore neighboring towns including Ewing, Lawrence, Hamilton and Hopewell.
An invite only Kick-Off will start the festivities on Friday with expected greetings from New Jersey Governor Phil D. Murphy, Congresswoman Bonne Watson-Coleman, sponsors and others. Simultaneously, Newark’s Mayor Ras Baraka, will be featured in a StreamYard Kick-Off Panel discussion entitled “How We Get Free: Artivism in the Past, Present and Future” which is sponsored by Art All Night 2021 in collaboration with the AACCofMC.
Saturday will include events in downtown Trenton including a Main Stage with local and world-renowned entertainers. The headliner will be American Jazz musician Marcus Johnson. Local community activist Crystal Feliciano will serve as host for the Main Stage. A nearby Legacy Stage will feature youth/young adult entertainment hosted by “The #1Host” Kevin Hines and community champion Jasi Edwards. A Children’s Literacy Village including free books and interactive demonstrations, will open with a ribbon-cutting by Senator Shirley K. Tuner who sponsored a portion of the village. The Healthy Living Experience is being presented by Mama Yoga’s Wellness Coaching and Training and will include Trenton Health Team and Capital City YMCA featuring speakers, fitness, dance and activities for youth to seniors. Mercer County Stables will also serve as a location for an equestrian experience with the Crazy Faith Riders. The finale will be a Gospel Celebration on Sunday in historic Mill Hill Park featuring Trenton’s own JVR and Union Baptist Church’s Ensemble. WIMG and gospel recording artist Craig Hayes will serve as host for Sunday’s concert.
Burke says, “We believe that the inclusion of people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds promotes unity.”
For more information please call 609-474-4073 or visit www.taacf.com