Tia, SHARE's Director of AfroSHARE/Black Women's Outreach, talks about the presence SHARE had at the Juneteenth Freedom Festival run by NYC Mayor Eric Adams last month, and why it's important for Black women to see this representation and have access to our resources at these historic events.
What is Juneteenth and why do we celebrate it?
Juneteenth is the 4th of July for the Black community – it’s our Independence Day. It was the day that enslaved people were officially emancipated throughout the United States.
I love celebrating Juneteenth because it’s an opportunity to share Black pride and Black culture with people who may not be familiar with it. At the heart of the holiday, it’s really about loving your neighbors and loving yourself. Now that it’s been acknowledged as a federal holiday, it gives so many people the opportunity to learn more about its history and the history of the Black community, and it gives us the time to commemorate it.
What was it like being at the Juneteenth Freedom Festival for the first time? What information were we able to share with the community?
It was amazing! To have a presence at an event thrown by the Mayor’s office and be part of their outreach efforts is truly an honor.
Our Ambassadors helped greet everyone who attended by giving out our pink SHARE bags with a ton of information on our support groups, educational programs and resources. It was such an amazing opportunity to really see and talk to the community on such an important day for all of us. There were over 12,000 people there and we had a touchpoint with almost every single one. That was incredibly important to us. We’re looking forward to attending next year!
Why is it important that SHARE is represented at these events?
In order to help people, you need to open yourself up to their culture and meet them where they are. When you make the conscious effort to understand and connect, especially with Black women, you get vital knowledge on what they need and what they want.
For SHARE, since we have an enormous amount of resources for women of color, it’s important that we attend these events so the Black community knows we’re here. Being a resource for them is understanding the issues they are facing and the concerns that they have; it’s making deep connections with the women in our area – and what better way to do that than interacting with them at a Juneteenth event? That’s where the community is. We want them to recognize that whenever there’s an event like this, SHARE will be there.