Due to inclement weather in the forecast for Saturday, the Central Park Conservancy is rescheduling the Juneteenth event. It will now be held this Sunday, June 18 at 10am.
By Lisa Kava
On Sunday, June 18, the Central Park Conservancy will host its second annual Juneteenth Celebration in Seneca Village from 10 AM-2 PM. The festivities will feature artists, performances, and interactive spiritual mind-body activities.
Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, marking June 19th, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, (two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed) to ensure that all enslaved people were freed. President Joe Biden declared the day a federal holiday in June 2021.
Seneca Village, an area on the west side of Central Park between 82nd and 89th Streets, existed long before Central Park was created. It was one of New York’s first communities of black property owners, settled in the 1820’s. But the Seneca Village story came to an end in 1856-1857, when the area was razed to make way for the construction of Central Park. During this process, approximately 1,600 inhabitants were displaced according to the Conservancy.
To honor those residents who were displaced and to celebrate Juneteenth, the Conservancy would like to “invite all New Yorkers and visitors to explore the landscape and take part in hands-on experiences that tap into the longstanding power of Black wellness practices that rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit.”
Here is a sampling of some of the planned highlights:
Artist Shanequa will lead a community art project from 10 AM-2 PM, inspired by the braiding patterns used by enslaved Africans to communicate escape routes and send each other road maps to freedom.
A Mindfulness and Breathwork Workshop led by Ellie Cassaba of Harlem Yoga Studio will take place from 10:30-AM to 11:15 AM. Cassaba will guide visitors through a practice meant to help find inner tranquility within nature.
A Somatic Healing Dance will be held from 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM. Somatic Coach Jen Chau Fontan will lead visitors through a gentle movement practice meant to encourage the release of trauma and stress. Choreographer and artistic director of Emotions Physical Theatre Shawn Rawls will provide a physical and visual demonstration of the experience.
Renaissance Jazz will take place from 11:45 AM -12:30 PM. The performance will be a collaboration between Mother Zion Church musicians and the jazz group IAMKHEMESTRY. Duke Ellington’s “Freedom,” will be played.
For more information about Juneteenth in Seneca Village and a complete line up of activities and performances click here.