- Published on Thursday, 28 May 2015 15:23
On my weekly hike to my local PriceChopper, I happened to pass a Mom and Daughter going the opposite direction. After passing, the woman turned around and called, “Ma’am, excuse me, you look so familiar, where do I know you from?” I got that cold chill that shoots up my spine when someone reminds me of the DA’s social security television ambush…I smiled with not even a remote recollection of her face.
(Of course, I did the same thing to my long term acquaintance, Barb Samel, Common Council Counsel, when I ran into her at the Memorial Day Parade. Hey, I’m old with a fading “insider” status.)
I looked to the smiling child hoping she would provide a clue to my familiarity. “I know,” this woman beams at me, “I know you from Juneteenth over at the school.” I responded with, “good memory, that was a long time ago” and I advised that this year’s celebration will be in Washington Park…the date I was unaware of…as was she.
Now, you all know how I am. Of course I went home and googled “Albany Juneteenth 2015.”
I discovered that the first search result was at Albany.org (not City of Albany) and this website declared June 22nd as the 2015 Juneteenth. Of course, I declared this incorrect, I mean, the “teenth” can’t be the 22nd. So, I went to the next search result which WAS from the City of Albany and showing an event date of June 14th...inside my timely issue…but not aligned with the first return in the search. So, for the tie-breaker, I ventured to the National Juneteenth website where there was absolutely no mention of Juneteenth in Albany, NY…where “black lives matter.”
After a bunch of checking, I discovered that Albany.org had posted the 2014 Juneteenth Flyer on the 2015 event listing. So, all those thousands of folks ignoring the celebration for the last few years… will be ignoring the celebration on the wrong week end if they rely on a google search, like I did. I mean, it’s not like there are throngs of celebrants jumping for joy…heck, I bet most of the annual orators didn’t know what Juneteenth was until their handler’s advised them of it. (That’s for you, Mr. Ellis!!)
In case you are one of the uninformed, as my BIL likes to remind me, Juneteenth “is a Texas Thang…so why are you Yankee’s even celebrating it?” He teaches History…go figure. Here’s the story from the City of Albany website.
Juneteenth is considered the date when the last slaves in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come until General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and issued General Order No. 3 on June 19, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Juneteenth has come to symbolize the end of slavery, and for many African-Americans, it has come to mean what Fourth of July means for all Americans - freedom. It serves as a historical milestone reminding Americans of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery. It honors those African-American ancestors who survived the institution of bondage as well as demonstrating pride in the marvelous legacy of resilience and perseverance they left us.
Honorable mention on the City of Albany Website listing the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region as presenting this year’s celebration.Hallelujah!! So, I skiddaddled over to the AACCCR website….
Where I found absolutely no mention of Juneteenth for any year. Hmmm…I pondered. I contacted some “in the know” types who tell me that, like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the “Mayor” pulled the funding…unlike the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the ACC didn’t vote to fork over $20,000 to float the note for Juneteenth.
I checked my inbox for any mention from the City of Albany contacting this long time volunteer or soliciting donations or sponsorship. (I didn’t even see an opportunity on ANY of the visited websites to provide support for the event!) Nada…Zilch…there was one single email dated in 2015 mentioning Juneteenth and that was a call for vendors sent in
Aside: Whew Hooo…it’s as if they read my mind!! Three minutes ago I got a press release from the City of Albany announcing Juneteenth and the ongoing need for vendors. Unfortunately, the email noted presentation by the seemingly defunct African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region. (By the way, they seem to be looking for what is quite possibly single position of Director.)
I will not be attending the Juneteenth on either the 14th or the 22nd…and I won’t be alone. The last few years, since the tag team of Barber/Cavozos left the Juneteenth team, the event became a sad shadow of the rollicking event held in Arbor Hill. Every year I would arrive early and be dead on my feet by the time the event was over.
Everyone in the hood came out for the event back in the day. Of course, there was free food and giveaways as the Barber/Cavozos team always brought in sponsorship. Looks like the Common Council should the “Lives” from their opinion that Black Lives Matter. It seems, with Juneteenth’s lack of funding, support and promotion by the City of Albany…the City is actually saying that “Black Lives Don’t Matter.” At least not as much as Irish Lives.