Edtior’s Note: This is the second in a “Juneteenth Stories” series of stories Front Runner New Jersey is doing recognizing Juneteenth and how South Jerseyans are planning to celebrate it.
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
GLASSBORO – In the midst of the coronavirus restrictions in 2020 that kept people apart and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May that drove people together, Sherry Busby along with the Black and Brilliant Events Team knew they had to respond.
What resulted with Busby, Myeesha Jones and Latasha Waters was Glassboro’s first Juneteenth Festival and Candle Light Vigil, celebrating the end of slavery and Black culture while giving people a chance to come together under COVID-19 restrictions in the name of social justice.
In short, it was the right event at just the right time and it turned out to be huge success. As the State of New Jersey prepares to celebrate a statewide Juneteenth holiday for the first time ever, Busby, Jones and Waters may have already created the standard in which many other celebrations will be measure.
As the Black and Brilliant Events team organizes their follow-up, Busby said last year’s event provided them with the momentum to come up with something bigger and better for the community.
“Me, Myeesha and Latasha are thrilled to be hosting our second annual Juneteenth Festival in our hometown of Glassboro,” Busy said. “Last year’s event was such an amazing experience, one that has provided us with incredible support, positive feedback and the resources needed to create an even bigger and more historical celebration.”
Like last year, Black-owned businesses will be given plenty of space to engage visitors and show off their creations and businesses.
This year’s Glassboro festival will have something for the entire family, including bouncy houses, face painting, miniature golf, Henna tattoos, a Mindfulness Corner and you won’t go hungry with food trucks and libation. Entertainers will giver performances.
There will also be keynote speakers, voter registration tables, a Lactation Center, health and wellness checks. A photographer and videographer will also be on site.
Last year’s event was sparked by a social media post and organized quickly, but with the passion and determination of a mission. This year, the Black and Brilliant team had all year look back at what they accomplished and what they can improve on.
“Through last year’s event, our team was able to bring together our youngest members to our wisest elders within the community, to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. as well as pay tribute to our many brothers and sisters that we have recently lost due to violent acts against them,” Busby continued.
Last year’s events included a Black business expo, performances, food and fellowship. Busby said this year’s event will also include a ways to uplift the community.
“Our 2020 Juneteenth event created an overwhelming amount of encouragement, history, revenue, empowerment, and togetherness, for people of color and their families,” Busy said. “This type of engagement and strong representation within our community is one of the key components as to why our Black and Brilliant Events Team was created and what we learned was much needed within the town of Glassboro.”
Busby said in an effort to keep people safe, health-wise, the festival will follow many of the coronavirus standards, but it won’t be as strict as last year.
“While continuing to adhere to the orders mandated by Governor Murphy, this year’s event will be filled with even more safe fun-filled educational activities, amazing vendors, outstanding performers, and speakers that will surely honor and celebrate our liberation and those who came before us and fought for the rights and privileges we hold today,” Busby said.
Busby added that she hopes that connection are made and people build on their sense of empowerment and history that was started at the event last year.
“Our team hopes that all in attendance to this year’s Juneteenth celebration will not only take away wonderful products, food, and resources from many of our talented black owned businesses, but also a better awareness of the significance of Juneteenth,” she said.
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