Global Kids and P.S./I.S. 109, in collaboration with P.S./I.S. 109 PTA, celebrated the 1st Annual Juneteenth Celebration 2022 at the school, located at 1001 East 45th Street, on Friday, June 17th! There was a buzz, energy of excitement and authentic anticipation from Global Kids scholars and staff who prepared for weeks to learn about the history of Juneteenth. Mrs. Darden, Black History Advocate for scholars and BH Committee member, said, “It’s vital to teach our scholars about their history and why this national holiday is so important in African history and in American History. We must advocate and expose our scholars to the richness of Black and Brown cultures. My Bishop, Dr. JRY, has taught me so much about African experiences in American history. Bishop JRY strives to make us aware in the understanding that if we don’t know where we came from, we don’t know where we’re going!” The study of Juneteenth is an example of why we must teach our scholars the history.
The scholars of Global Kids@ P.S./I.S. 109, under the new Site Director Mr. Oliver D. Jordan, Mr. Quamel, Mrs. Darden and Ms. Palmer, within three months increased scholars’ participation rate by more than 90%, along with his GK staff Ms. Faison, Ms. Theresa, Ms. Cherri, Ms. Alencia, Ms. Kat and Mr. Corey worked tirelessly with their scholars to produce an Edu-tainment evening of excitement, talent and skills, highlighting the beauty, richness and importance toward healing as we commemorate Juneteenth.
The presentation opened with libations (historically, the pouring of water and the invitation and welcome of the Ancestors) from Brother Beast of The Peace Keepers.Org walking down the aisle of Black Lives Matter Way, inscribed with GK scholars’ “I AM” statements. Next, 8th grade seniors Breanna and Shalimar accompanied by pianist Daniel singing The Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Serenity wrote the background information on Juneteenth to help set the stage of why we celebrate and honor Juneteenth. These middle school scholars learned and presented synchronized African dance with Ms. Reina and drummer Ty, Modern and Hip-Hop Dance with a powerful message through movement, choreographed by Mrs. Darden, Ms. Rebecca, Ms. Serphie, Ms. Donnetin and 7th grade choreographer Gaelle along with collaboration from other scholars.
Also presented to an audience of families, friends and the staff was Hip-Hop Theatre with Mr. Dewight, poetry written by 6th-graders Sarah and Arichely. GK Art students and muralist Ms. Kye created an art expression on canvas telling the story of beautiful black hair moving through the decades up to present day Juneteenth. Assistant Principals Murray and Williams (seen in photo) were present to support and receive this canvas creation, which will be donated and dedicated to the P.S./I.S. 109 school library. Also on hand to show support was P.S. 109 UFT Chapter Leader Martha Murray (seen in photo).
Kapitol City Nupes, Brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., from Trenton, NJ stepped and helped tell the story of HBCU stepping. And then there was Songstress Amber Lee presenting her original song most fitting for Juneteenth entitled “Melanin.”
As you entered the Juneteenth lobby of the school, you were mesmerized by the many vendors celebrating their talents in Loas Vegan Caribbean foods, Valentine’s African dolls, headpieces and clothing, Powell Martial Arts school, Balloon artist by Bert, Wellness by Wen massage therapist, Len Adera custom t-shirts, lovely scented candles Kol by Charmz, P.S./I.S. 109 PTA Leslie Torres and founder of H.O.W. Inc, and the youngest vendor and scholar bead bracelet maker, Raven of Bracelaton. In addition, the Office of Mayor Eric Adams sent a letter acknowledging the efforts of Global Kids for their diligence in learning about and celebrating Juneteenth.
Courtesy of Michelle Pinnock Darden
Photos courtesy of Leslie-Ann Angus-Torres