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juneteenthLeaders of the campaign to establish Juneteenth as a National Holiday Observance Day returned to the nation's capitol the week of June 19th for the annual Washington Juneteenth Holiday Observance. They called for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that would establish Juneteenth as an observance day like Flag Day or Patriot Day. Leaders of the Juneteenth campaign also wanted the state legislature to establish a commission that would be responsible for establishing an education curriculum for public school students about Juneteenth, and establish markers and monuments to increase tourism and educate the public.

On Sunday (Juneteenth), June 19th, 2011 President Obama issued a written statement that Juneteenth was more than a holiday for African-Americans.  "Our nation is stronger because of the generations of struggles for equal rights and social justice, and our culture is richer because of the contributions of African Americans throughout our history," said Obama. "This is why Juneteenth, while rooted in the history of a people, can be celebrated by all Americans."

 Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., founder and chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) and the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) had invited Speaker of the House John Boehner to discuss the three-fifths clause during the 2011 Washington Juneteenth National Holiday Observance in the U.S. Capitol. “The omission of the reading of the three-fifths clause during the historic reading of the U.S. Constitution by congress left open the question of the importance of slavery and the significance Americans of African descent made to the founding of America,” says Dr. Myers.

 

juneteenth(Carson City, NV) - Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed legislation to make Nevada the 39th state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday observance. The historic signing ceremony, at the Governor's office in the state capital, was attended by Assemblyman Harvey J. Munford, sponsor of AB174,  Nevada State Director for the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF), Deborah A. Evans and  Nevada Juneteenth Creative Arts and Education Director, Mac Loving, Jr.

"We especially thank State Representative Harvey J. Munford for keeping his promise to pass legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday observance in Nevada," states Deborah Evans, also Nevada Director of the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign. "We are not advocating for Juneteenth Independence Day to be a paid holiday, but a special day of observance, like Flag Day or Patriot Day."

Juneteenth recognizes the day, June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to read General Order #3, announcing "all slaves are free" through the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln. It took over two and a half years for the news to reach  Southwest  Texas, the last geographic area in America where slavery was practiced, creating the oldest African American freedom celebration and America's second Independence Day.

"We are overjoyed and honored that State Assemblyman Munford worked so closely with us to accomplish our legislative mission," states Evans. "As an educator, athlete, and down to earth legislator, he knew the history, had the perseverance to keep his eye on the prize, and he listened to the wishes of the community."

"Speaking with Governor Sandoval today, we were pleased to find a kindred spirit," states Evans. "He has incorporated the memorabilia of his predecessors and gifts from family and friends to create his own vision and legacy.  We know he understands the balance between the acknowledgement of history, the practice of family values, and the significance of using the past to enrich the future."

"Governor Sandoval's signature on the Juneteenth Independence Day bill acknowledges the heritage we share on both sides of the legacy of enslavement in America." states Evans. "Nevada has played a significant role in moving America toward reconciliation and healing, recognizing the contributions of African Americans  since 1865," continues Evans. "We also wish to thank Assemblymen Neal and  Hogan, for their support, along with staff member, Cheryl Yates, in making this signing day a memorable one."

"A great day for Nevada has arrived with the recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day." states Mac Loving, Jr. "We look forward to working with Assemblyman Munford and Governor Sandoval to nourish the young minds in Nevada and to bring better understanding of our interwoven histories and talents."

"African Americans built the White House and the U.S. Capitol," states Loving. "Our children need to know their history, embracing, rather than dismissing, those who are not like them, building a mutually beneficial future for all Americans."

"The NJOF hopes to establish a Nevada State Juneteenth Commission," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., Founder & Chairman of the NJOF and the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC), sponsors of the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement. "The commission will help develop curriculum to teach the history of slavery and freedom through Juneteenth in schools, preserve that history through developing key historical landmarks and projects which will develop tourism in Nevada through the celebration of Juneteenth."

For information on the celebration of Juneteenth in Nevada, contact Deborah A. Evans at 702-878-5277, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the web site
www.humpdyddicyti.net.

For information on the NJOF, the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign and the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement, contact Dr. Myers at 662-247-3364, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or web site: www.NationalJuneteenth.com.

The Nevada bill AB174 reads:

1. The Governor shall annually proclaim June 19 to be "Juneteenth Day" in the State of Nevada to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the United States.

2. The proclamation must call upon the news media, educators and appropriategovernmental  officers to bring to the attention of Nevada's residents the historical significance of the day when the last slaves in the United States were emancipated and the significant contributions of African-Americans to the State.

juneteenth_copyNational Juneteenth Holiday Campaign Chairman, Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., was glad to hear the news about the passage of S.R. 164 by the Georgia State Senate recognizing the "19th of June" as Juneteenth Celebration Day. Georgia is now the 37th state to celebrate the of end of enslavement in America.

"Georgia joins Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Illinois, Missouri, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington State, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Vermont, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Mississippi and the District of Columbia in recognizing the end of enslavement in America," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteeenth Observance Foundation (NJOF).

Juneteenth commemorates the day when slaves in the last geographic area in America where slavery existed learned of their freedom. This took place on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union General Gordon Granger read General Order #3, announcing that "all slaves are free" by Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, and issued on January 1, 1863. It took over two and a half years for the news to travel to southwest Texas.

"We especially appreciate Senator Lester Jackson for sponsoring the legislation that has made all of this possible," states Dr. Myers. "We also want to thank Sen. Donzella James and Sen. Valencia Seay for their support for Juneteenth to be recognized at the state capitol."

Now that Juneteenth is recognized in Georgia by the State Senate, Myers is hopeful that perhaps Georgia U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson will support legislation in the U.S. Congress to officially place Juneteenth on all calendars.

"We are not asking for a paid federal holiday, which will be a burden on tax-payers, but a National Day of Observance like Flag Day or Patriot Day," states Dr. Myers. "As more states like  Georgia  pass Juneteenth legislation, with only thirteen states remaining, we hope that President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress will finally officially establish a day for the observance and celebration of the end of slavery in America."

Thousands of petitions have been forwarded to the White House urging President Obama to make Juneteenth a National Day of Observance and to establish a Presidential National Juneteenth Commission to provide advice on how the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day can bring all Americans together with the goal of promoting greater understanding and racial healing.  

A similar petition drive is pushing for the issuing of Juneteenth "Flags of Freedom" postage stamp by the USPS.

"The official recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day and the end of enslavement by state governments and the U.S. Congress are very significant steps in bringing healing to America from the legacy of enslavement," states Rev. Dr. Myers, also Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC), the National Day Reconciliation & Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement and the annual Washington Juneteenth National Holiday Observance.

For information on the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, the National Day of Reconciliation & Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement, the Washington Juneteenth National Holiday Observance and Juneteenth Celebrations in Georgia, contact Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D. at 662-247-3364 or e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or web sites: www.Juneteenth.us and www.NationalJuneteenth.com.


The Resolution is as follows:

Senate Resolution 164

By: Senators Jackson of the 2nd, James of the 35th and Seay of the 34th

A Resolution



1 Recognizing "Juneteenth Celebration Day" in Georgia ; and for other purposes.

2 Wheras, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on

3 January 1, 1863, and General Lee surrendered in April, 1865, officially ending the United

4 States Civil War; and

5 Whereas, news of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of slavery did not reach

6 Texas , Oklahoma , Louisiana , Arkansas , and California until June 19, 1865; and

7 Whereas, on that evening, thousands of former slaves flooded the streets in spontaneous

8 celebration, rejoicing in the news of their long awaited freedom; and

9 WHEREAS, the nineteenth day of June has been observed as "Juneteenth" to commemorate

10 the joyous events of June 19,1865, and Juneteenth celebrations have occurred in states across

11 this great nation; and

12 Whereas, "Juneteenth" and similar Emancipation Day observances formally recognizing

13 the abolition of slavery are now officially observed in numerous states, Washington, D.C. ,

14 and internationally in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America ; and

15 Whereas, Americans of all colors, creeds, cultures, religions, and countries of origin share

16 in a common love of and respect for freedom, as well as the determination to protect their

17 right to freedom through the democratic institutions by which the tenets of freedom are

18 guaranteed and protected; and

19 Whereas, it is only fitting and proper that the State of Georgia appropriately recognize

20 this glorious event marking the end of slavery and the beginning of freedom for so many who

21 had wrongfully suffered in this state and nation.

22 Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by the Senate that the members of this body

23 hereby recognize "Juneteenth Celebration Day" in remembrance of those who received the

24 exultant news of their freedom and as a memorial to all those who suffered from the cruelties

25 of slavery, and encourage ceremonies, celebrations, and other activities to be held in their

26 honor.

27 Be it further resolved, that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed

28 to transmit an appropriate copy of this resolution to the National Juneteenth Observance

29 Foundation.


Musical icon’s legacy continues to educate, inspire and entertain!

RayChlsMemLibThe Ray Charles Memorial Library officially opened its doors on September 24th, the day that would have been the music icon’s 80th birthday. The library, which features interactive exhibits about the musician’s life and career, is housed in the Charles Studio office building in South Los Angeles. On hand for the recent grand opening were Charles’ friends and colleagues including musical legends Quincy Jones and B.B. King.

The Ray Charles 80th Birthday Celebration will also include a 20-month series of events and announcements. “The library's main aim is to educate and inspire disenfranchised children who have seen arts education cut from their school curricula,” said library and foundation president Valerie Ervin. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will stage exhibits and host events in keeping with its educational mission. “We will be rolling out exciting events and announcements every month through September 2011,” states Ervin.

“It’s not only a chance to connect with Mr. Charles’ ongoing fan base on various levels but to also engage a new generation of fans as we re-introduce his enduring legacy and catalog of work. Fans throughout the world will be able to learn more about Mr. Charles -- not only as a music legend but as a global icon of historical significance.”

New Training Course Helps Travel Agents Sell Paris as a Black Heritage Destination to Mainstream Travelers

Monique_WellsDiscover Paris!™, a travel planning service that provides self-guided itineraries and private, guided tours in the City of Light, has partnered with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) to offer a specialist course that teaches travel professionals how to sell Paris as a Black heritage destination. The result: a home-study course entitled Paris – An Afro-centric Perspective authored by Discover Paris! co-founder Monique Y. Wells. The training manual provides agents with an introduction to African-American history in Paris, and an in-depth understanding of the sites related to this history. The manual also contains sample itineraries to help agents create a well-rounded travel agenda to include fascinating—yet not widely known or appreciated—aspects of contemporary Black Paris.

madame_cast_2

A Musical Reading Production Based on the Life of Madam C.J. Walker proves to be a Hit!

The stage performance of the story of Madam C.J. Walker is back by popular demand.  ‘Madam’ is a powerful and inspirational musical, directed by Herman Levern Jones, the founder and president of TheatreSouth Atlanta, INC (TSA).   The performance will be at Atlanta’s South Dekalb County’s Porter Sanford III Performance Arts and Community Center now until the 3rd of October.                                                       

Earlier this year in March, Jones presented excerpts from ‘Madam’ in New York and the show turned out to be a musical hit, receiving rave reviews. Through TheatreSouth Atlanta, he has brought the show back as an entertaining and educational performance about the life of Madam C.J. Walker, the first black female millionaire who made her fortune in the hair care industry.  Written by Adriana Amendola and composed by Paul Johnson, ‘Madam’ is a stage production for the entire family.  It is the 2010 Winner of the Puffin Foundation Award. 

International Rescue Committee Annual Gala helps to support organization’s displaced refugees program.

sesayThe International Rescue Committee (IRC) will hold its annual Freedom Fête Gala in Atlanta on Saturday, September 11 at the Nelson Mullins building in Atlantic Station. Isha Sesay, CNN International anchor and host of ‘Inside Africa’ will be the Mistress of Ceremonies for this formal event which will begin at 7 pm and last until 10 pm. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Courage,” a fitting tribute as IRC marks the milestone of resettling 20,000th refugee since IRC Atlanta opened its doors in 1979.  

Those in attendance will get to enjoy international cuisine, musical entertainment and spectacular views from Nelson Mullins’ penthouse terrace.  There will be a silent auction as well as an out of the ordinary live auction presided over by comedian and actor Rob Cleveland.  This one-of-a-kind gala event will culminate with a spoken program that evening.

Alecia_Robinson
Performer Alecia Robinson Rocks House with ‘Climb Every Mountain’!

The Sound of Music, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical that has won over legions of fans throughout the years is at the Fabulous Fox in Atlanta, Tuesday through Sunday, August 24 -29th.  Set in Austria in the late 1930’s, The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, a high spirited nun novitiate whose enthusiasm and love for life is both admired and sometimes resented by fellow nuns.  This classical musical version at the Fabulous Fox will include Alecia Robinson, an African-American national theater veteran.

Robinson plays the role of Sister Margaretta, one of the nuns who is a supporter of the main character Maria. Also the understudy for Mother Abbess, Robinson shows outstanding vocal ranges singing ‘Climb Every Mountain,’ a performance that has proven to be a showstopper.   In the storyline of this production, Mother Abbess receives a request from Captain Von Trapp, a widowed naval officer to find a Governess for his seven children. Maris does an exemplary job with the children and gains the approval of the Mother Abbess and the other nuns.

Drummer Wm. Jevon Rushton energizes musical production with rhythmic beats.

pic_of_rushtonAfter eight mesmerizing performances to full houses at the Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre, CATS is still an awe inspiring musical spectacular that is great entertainment for the entire family. One special person who is helping to make the tour a success is Wm. Jevon Rushton, who is the drummer for this production. Rushton will continue traveling with CATS this month to open in Birmingham on the 10th; Tampa, Florida on the 14th and Montreal, Canada on the 20th.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rushton started playing drums when he was six years old, displaying his dexterity as a musician at an early age. By the time he turned 14, he enrolled in the Creative and Performing Arts School in Pittsburgh to study music and cultivate his talents under the tutelage of jazz legend Roger Humphries (Horace Silver, Ray Charles). He then went on to study at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

Rushton, who is also a percussionist, brings a rare and unique sense of elegance to his music with explosive power and a mastery of complex rhythms and time signatures.  His incomparable technique is in his ability to imbue music with a majestic grace that shows his artistic ingenuity.  When he is not traveling with CATS, he spends time teaching at The Pittsburgh Project on the city’s North Side because of his strong dedication to community and education. Over the last few years he has played all over the United States and in Japan and Europe.  Before Rushton got his break to play drums in CATS, he had the pleasure of performing with artists such as Kirk Franklin, Sean Jones, Dwayne Dolphin, Carolyn Perteete and more. Rushton has also recorded several CD’s.

CATS-2010-006-Photo_Credit_G_CreativeThe recipient of many awards including the Judah Project’s Excellence in Leadership and AUBA Community Dedication Award, he was also honored and inducted into the Westinghouse Hall of Fame in 2008. Rushton is on the board of directors for The Judah Project of Washington, D.C., and is the primary drum instructor at The Eastminster Churches Judah Project Music Academy in Pittsburgh.

The national tour of CATS recently celebrated its 27th anniversary season, holding its place as the longest continuously touring Broadway musical in history. On May 11, 1981, CATS opened at the New London Theatre in the West End. Eight years later it celebrated its first important milestone: after 3,358 performances CATS became the longest running musical in the history of British theatre. Five continents, 26 countries, over eight and a half million audience members and 27 years later, CATS is still America’s most loved family musical.

Vist
www.troika.com/_showpages/shows-cats.html to see when a CATS performance is coming to your town.

Exterior_August_Wilson_CenterThe August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh will host the Association of African American Museums 2010 Annual Conference on August 4-7. A non-profit member organization established to support African and African American focus museums nationally and internationally, the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) serves to strengthen, support and advocate for the interests of institutions, professionals and individuals committed to the preservation of African-derived cultures. Culture and heritage enthusiasts, officials as well as professionals are expected to attend.

The ultra modern, August Wilson Center, that officially opened to the public last fall, is a two story building centrally located in downtown Pittsburgh in the city’s cultural district. Named for distinguished Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson (1945-2005), the center reflects all aspects of African American culture. According to a center spokesperson, “The AWC will serve as a hub for people celebrating and experiencing the on-going contributions of African Americans — in music, theater, dance, science, athletics, business and many other aspects of American culture.”

liberty_bell1America's first capital is well known for many firsts including the nation's first library, hospital and the first African American Museum built by a major U.S. city. Today the metro-triumph is in the midst of creating history once again.

Philadelphia is attempting to hold the intricate balance of conserving the city's historic value while staying at the forefront of exploration, expansion and innovation. The city is a think-tank with an infrastructure supporting unlimited outlets for education, arts, businesses and entertainment.


As of recent, exciting events and developments have been unraveling throughout the districts. Fully accessible, the area is ranked within the top five "most walkable" cities by WalkScore.

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