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I * PhoUM by Tevio
i Dr. Kimya Dennis makes a point during the Juneteenth Festival Black Family |
| Forum on Saturday, June 18 at the Biotech Place located on North Patterson
I Avenue. Other panelists included Dr. Manderline Scales, Larry DeBerry, and
Dr. Dorrance Kennedy.
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Hundreds of residents gathered at the Biotech Place and Bailey Park last Saturday to celebrate freedom during the Juneteenth Festival. The festival included a
number of vendors and forums, live entertainment, food, and other activities throughout the day. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the
ending of slavery.
Forum during annual
Juneteenth Festival designed
to empower African
BY TEVIN STINSON
Last Saturday, the annual Juneteenth
Festival took a new twist.
To jumpstart the festival, retired
Winston-Salem State University professor
Dr. Manderline Scales; Kimya Dennis,
Salem College assistant professor of soci
ology and criminal studies; Dorrance
Kennedy, CEO of Harambee Unlimited;
and human relations consultant for the city
of Greensboro, Lacy DeBerry, sat down to
discuss a number of topics, including the
black family structure, education, the
black church, finance and housing.
The panel also explored, mental health,
and criminal justice.
The annual festival, which began local
ly in 2004, commemorates the day in June
of 1865 when Union Soldiers marched into
Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil
War had ended and that the enslaved were
This year's festival, held at the new
Bailey Park and the Biotech Place on
North Patterson Avenue, included the
usual live music, food, vendors, exhibits,
heritage displays, arts and crafts and kids
Along with bringing back old favorites
frdm past festivals, however, this year's
event also featured a number of new
attractions, such as a fashion show, a cook
ing demo and a number of forums
designed to empower the African
The topic of the black family involved
While discussing finance and home
ownership in the African-American com
munity, Lacy DeBerry said everything
from voting districts to school systems is
based oh community. He went on to men
tion gentrification, a trend that involves
displacing lower-income families and
results in increased property values. He
said when this happens in urban areas,
homeowners have to liquidate their assets
and rent their homes in order to financially
support their families.
"Unfortunately, that impacts the
greater community," he said. "Everything
that we know in terms of structure is based
on community, and the community is
based on homeownership."
"If you live in a community that is 50
50, renters versus homeowners, you don't
have the strength that other communities
DeBerry noted often times in the black
community, even when income increases,
it still takes everything earned just to sur
vive. He then encouraged all those in
attendance to invest in stocks and bonds so
they can have something to pass on to
"It taikes everything we have to keep
food on the table and keep the lights on,"
he said. "What that means is we have to
change the way that we do things, our val
ues, as well as our mindset to make sure
we have a say so in our economic develop
"Moving forward we have to look at
ways to maximize our financial power."
During the question and answer por
tions of the forum, panelists were asked
about the current state of historically black
colleges and universities (HBCUs) as it
relates to the black family and culture.
Dennis said, "HBCU's are developing
in terms of research, grant writing and
teaching but, in order to progress they
must remain current and stop pretending
that all blacks think and feel the same way.
"Understanding diversity among our
own people is important. For HBCUs to
remain current, they need to understand
that diversity. If they don't, historically
black institutions will become outdated."
Kennedy, who has worked at five dif
ferent HBCUs, discussed Senate Bill 873
and legislative attempts to dismantle
HBCUs in the state of North Carolina. He
said alumni need to do a better job of sup
porting their institutions.
"It's not enough to go to Homecoming,
or put a bumper sticker on your car. We
need to give back resources to these insti
tutions," he said. "These institutions have
always produced our movers and shakers,
and we should not be naive about the
movement to demolish these institutions."
"Be sure to pay each year to these
black schools," said Scales, a graduate of
Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
"You should be able to support these
schools not just financially but in every
type of way," said Scales. "We have to
plant the seeds and water them daily."
Following the forum, James Robinson
said that the addition of the forums and
other new attractions made this year's fes
tival better than ever.
"I've been attending the Juneteenth
Festival since the beginning," he said.
"After sitting in on this forum and looking
at the other events they have planned for
the day, this is by far the best one yet. It
seems to get better every year."