Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NAACP and Friends of Library Celebrate Juneteenth

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Members and friends of the NAACP joined up with  Friends of the Library to celebrate Juneteenth at the public library in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Juneteenth is derived from the words June and nineteenth to commemorate June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived on Galveston Island, Texas to take possession of the state and enforce General Order No. 3 which abolished slavery in southern states.

Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is celebrated across our nation as a day, a week, and in some areas a month-long celebration of events and a time of coming together. It is a time for reflection, self-assessment, self-improvement and planning for the future.

People of all races, nationalities and religions join together to acknowledge a period of our history that has shaped and continues to influence our society, even today.

An opening proclamation was made by Otero County NAACP President Warren Robinson including prayers for the people murdered in North Carolina. Friends of the Library President Nadia Sikes also remarked on the importance and meaning of Juneteenth. NAACP Education Officer Ron Peeler gave a presentation of the history of Juneteenth. Local poet Keith Gerber presented several of his poems and Sarah Juba Addison delighted the audience with her storytelling expertise.

After enjoying refreshments, the audience went to the media room in the library for a participatory drum presentation by the Las Cruces-based New World Drummers. Along with learning to drum, participants were entertained by dancers Wanda Wakkinen and Karuna Warren.

Photo by Doug Kerr taken just before I left for the celebration, camera in hand

Otero County NAACP President Warren Robinson with opening remarks
Head of Friends of the Library, Nadia Sikes remarking on how similar we all are
NAACP Education Officer Ron Peeler relating history of Juneteenth
Some of the attendees
Another shot of attendees during break
Joel Hamilton always in attendance at these events
Adriene in serious conversation with Ron Peeler
Always dependable Bob Flotte was on hand with his charming assistant, making radio commentary on the event
Diana Hamilton  visiting with Denise Lang
Nadia Sikes being interviewed by Bob Flotte on radio
Local poet Keith Gerber related several of his poems
Alamogordo storyteller Sarah Juba Addison entertained the group with her great stories
One-Half of the New World Drummers
The other half of the New World Drummers demonstrating various instruments
Warren Robinson introducing the New World Drummers from Las Cruces, New Mexico
Wish we had sound. He was demonstrating a very melodious drum here.
They make beautiful music together much enjoyed by everyone
Joylyn Mercouris learning how to play the drum
Karen Hutchison and Jim concentrating on what comes next
Not only does she play drums, but dances beautifully as well
Wanda Wakkinen moving to the beat, a very graceful dancer as well
This drumming lasted far longer than intentioned, but everyone was having so much fun learning how to play and listening to songs that go with the playing. I know for sure, I can't sing and play drums at the same time! Juneteenth was a beautiful event, well presented, entertaining and educational at the same time.

This is all I have to say for now.

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