AASA hosts Juneteenth celebration

AASA hosts Juneteenth celebration

by Sebastian Gordon

On June 19th, PSC held its first Juneteenth event. The event was held at the Student Center in Bldg. 5 and Hagler Auditorium on the main campus. It started at 9 AM and extended until 7 PM. 

Attendees began the morning with a yoga session with Camelia Willis.
Image by Shawn Stewart

Juneteenth is a holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves. Even though this event has been celebrated since 1865, it just became a federal holiday on June 17th, 2021.

Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas, and has been celebrated in various parts of the United States. Juneteenth started as church-centered community gatherings. Later it spread across the South and became more popularized in the 1920s-1930s. 

The focus of this observance is to honor African American culture and spread knowledge of African American history. It also reminds the public of discrimination and injustices that African Americans still face today. 

PSC’s festivities included; music, poetry, storytelling, dance, food, and yoga. There were also two special presentations. 

The day started with yoga directed by Camelia Willis. Next Eleanor Johnson held a dance workshop and guests were encouraged to join. 

A special appearance was made by Mr. Bradley Simmons, a Percussionist/Educator at Duke University. He held a workshop and taught a seminar about the origins of Afrocentric Drumming. 

After that, PSC’s African American Student Association distributed lunch while a dance performance was done by Fallon Earlington. Then, Theola Bright demonstrated the art of head wrap designs.

Chef Kimathi Robinson demonstrated African cuisine bites. Next the play “Harriet” was held at Hagler Auditorium by Lawrence Gamell, Jessica McMillian, and Kisha Kenyatta. 

Jessica Mcmillan played Harriet Tubman in is the retelling of
major events within her life. This biographical play was directed by Kisha Kenyatta.
Image by Shawn Stewart

The African American Heritage Society had a storytime while Tammy Warren did face painting. Next, Dr. Tonie Anderson-Steele and AASA gave information about the history of Juneteenth. 

Last, there was a Polimbatree Grand Finale. The event was directed by Lepoleon Williams. It included performers; Delores Gibson (poet), Angela West- Robinson (Momuaye) (soloist), Ericka Streeter Hodge (poet), Tuesday Donaldson (poet), Lachelle McCormick (poet), Lloyd Reshard (vocalist), Deborah A. Ferguson (storytelling w/ folk dancer), Robert Robinson (drummer), Wayne Curtis (drummer), Craig DePass (drummer), Allen Williams (drummer), Shakara Hawkins (dancer), and Eleanor K. Johnson (dancer). 

This event was sponsored by Pensacola State College Black History Multicultural Committee, African American Student Association, University of West Florida Office of Equity and Diversity John. C Pace Symposium Series, and The African American Heritage Society. 

There was a great turnout even with the stormy weather. Everyone involved worked very hard to put together this amazing event. It was a wonderful celebration for the community.