Kids turn out for Juneteenth celebration

Winner: Nine-year-old Lewis Mitchell shows off his lego toy set that he won as a prize, at the eigth annual Juneteenth NYC celebration at Linden Park in East New York.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Remembering the past with fun and games.

About 900 children and parents packed Linden Park for the eighth annual Juneteenth NYC celebration in East New York on June 17. The theme for this year’s event was empowerment and kids got to partake in various activities, and even win prizes, said one mom who discovered the event with her son.

“I heard noise from the park and that’s how we found it and we came right on time,” said Tinea Martin, who attended with her son Lewis.

“I think it was great, especially for little kids, and it brought me back to when I was young.”

The weekend event honors June 19, the day that enslaved men and women learned of the abolishment of slavery in Galveston, Texas. Martin said this event serves as a reminder to educate young and old about the history, often not taught in schools.

“You don’t hear about it here, but it’s big in the south, but they should be learning in schools because they should know about it,” she added.

Various activities were held, including a talent show, a marching band and even a competitive game of musical chairs, which the mom said her son won a prize for placing second.

But the most standout about the event was the marching band, said Martin.

“Those little boys made my heart throb — they had so much swag, and played like they’ve been playing for years,” she said. “They played those drums really professional and it took me back.

Martin said as a newcomer to the event, she plans to return next year but also lend a hand in the event.

I’m definitely going to be there, and I actually want to see what I can do to participate,” she said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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