This is a community announcement from the The Southside Community Center. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit news releases, email

Community members are invited to attend the Southside Community Center’s Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 15. The event will feature great food, live music, children’s activities, a raffle with prizes from dozens of local businesses, and unique vendors. Representatives from local community organizations will share information and resources.

Juneteenth commemorates African-American freedom and emphasizes education, achievement, and community.

Southside Community Center’s Juneteenth 2019 theme is “Abolitionist Teaching,” honoring Jacqueline Elizabeth Melton Scott (January 1, 1937 – March 16, 2019).

In Dr. Bettina Love’s recent publication, “We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom,” she offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists. “Abolitionist teaching is not a teaching approach: It is a way of life, a way of seeing the world, and a way of taking action against injustice,” she writes.

One of our very own abolitionist teachers, Mama Scott, taught many of us a way of life by emphasizing the importance and power of knowing and honoring our history’s relationship to the present. Mama Scott embodied all aspects of an abolitionist teacher as she built a nationally acclaimed education program with the purpose of incorporating diversity of culture, ethnicity, economics and geography into the curriculum. As part of this work and her daily interactions, she taught us very specifically and unapologetically about the historic and present contributions of Black people, especially Black women, in this country and across the world. Her teachings continue to liberate us and she always reminded us to “live a good honorable life… Then, when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly… AND LIVE OUT LOUD.”

An additional book that will be featured at our 2019 Juneteenth celebration is called “Freedom! The Untold Story of Benkos Bioho and the World’s First Maroons” by Dr. Kofi LeNiles and Dr. Kmt Shockley. It will help us as we recognize that 2019 is the 400th commemoration of the arrival of Africans in the first permanent English colony in North America, and this highlights the perseverance of Africans from 1619 to the present. It is our duty to engage in an educational process with our children to teach them the truth about the greatness of our people.

“Even though my body was enslaved, my mind was free because my parents had already taught me that over 5,000 years ago our ancestors created Ipet Isut, the world’s first University,” LeNiles and Shockley write.

The Juneteenth Festival will be held at the Southside Community Center, 305 S. Plain St. Ithaca, N.Y. on Saturday, June 15. The block party will begin at noon and continue until a free screening of “The Wiz” begins at 8:30 p.m.

Check out The Ithaca Voice’s video from the 2018 Juneteenth Festival to see what’s in store.

Featured image: Juneteenth 2018, still from video by Jacob Mroczek. 

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