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Juneteenth celebrations kick off with student performances and block party

"We need some unity and healing after the devastating issues."
Enterprise Charter School Juneteenth celebration
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jun 17, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — This weekend Western New York will celebrate Juneteenth.

It marks the anniversary of the day the last African American slaves learned they were free, months after the end of the Civil War.

"It's very important just to know where they come from and know that they are important. They can be what they want to be and just get out here and perform, and be happy, and see some positive stuff going on," mother, Ianyana Satchell said. "It's nice to see them come together with everything that's going wrong in the world."

Stage performances showcasing Black culture, echoing across the parking lot of enterprise charter school.

African drumming, dancing and singing all performed by the students in kindergarten through 8th grade.

"We did ECS got talent. We were just dancing, singing and having fun," Enterprise Charter School student, Neya Satchell said.

The school is celebrating its second annual Juneteenth performance and something that was started last year after Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday.

"Juneteenth is such an integral part of American history," Enterprise Charter School innovation and special projects director, Michael Radosta said. "Enterprise Charter School, like any other public school, our job is to value and welcome every child and their culture. We have a lot of students who are African American. It's important to use to make sure that their culture is woven into the fabric of the school."

Later in the day, families and students will return to the school for a BBQ beginning at 5:30 p.m.

On Bailey Avenue, a community block club kick-off was honoring the holiday by providing services to the community.

Community Access Services (CAS) executive director, Kim Brown said, "We're located but we're considered to be in the heart of the city. Our organization's mission is to serve communities of color. So, we wanted to be right here and accessible for those communities who are in need."

CAS’ Juneteenth celebration was an in-person event with health information, giveaways for adults and children by community organizations and vendors, music, the Dirty Bird Chicken N’ Waffles, food truck and free HIV and Hepatitis C testing for attendees. The event was free and open to the public.
CAS is also participating in the City of Buffalo's Juneteenth Parade and Festival on Saturday, June 18.

Food truck sites, activities and even painters making their way to the Community Access Services, block party affiliated with Evergreen Health.

"Juneteenth is such an intrical part of American history. It's as important as the 4th of July. We're looking to not only do this wonderful performance every year, but making sure our children learn our complete American history," Maria Miles said.

A member of Most Valuable Parents (MVP) of Buffalo, New York, Maria Miles said she came for the food but most importantly, the fellowship.

Most Valuable Parents of Buffalo, New York, Maria Miles said, "We need some unity and healing after the devastating issues, and just to get out and socialize. We were locked in the house for so many summers with the pandemic. So, it's just a good feeling to get out."