Yonkers 2021 Juneteenth Event

Juneteenth is always a joyful, exciting celebration irregardless of where you’re celebrating. African Americans across the nation typically host entertaining events full of mouth-watering food and great music that will have you dancing all day and night, throughout the weekend of June 19th. This year my hometown Yonkers, NY celebrated as well. It was beautiful to watch my community come together and plan a weekend of festivities for all ages, mainly the youth. Yonkers has always been known for its annual parade and festivities for African American heritage for decades. It use to be the highlight of the summer when I was a child — well at least for me it was. My grandparents were involved in the community. Actually they have participated in the parade a few times and would even let my cousin and I to join along for the ride. The parade always lead to various vendors selling goods, great food and galore! It was nostalgic to attend, yet exciting to be involved as well. Only difference was that there wasn’t a parade and marching band. I had the opportunity to meet with some of the members of the  Yonkers African American Heritage Club (YAAHC), Project Inspire Yonkers, local business owners, community leaders, sports coaches, and many more. Each meeting contained creative, powerful, resourceful, and passionate like-minded individuals. They shared the love for Yonkers and creating positive, educational resources for the youth. Various events occurred such as a Kickball Tournament, Educational Symposium, Basketball Workshop, and Open Mic. 

“Juneteenth means celebrating our ancestors and acknowledging our progression of our people as we continue to fight and journey through life with our brother and sisters, while we are self-determine in who we are in the mist of our struggle”

Tom Ray
Taking a stroll through to the park to one of my favorite local businesses Head to Toe Self Care

Throughout Juneteenth, I also had the opportunity to meet with some community leaders that work alongside athletic extracurricular activities for the youth, such as Basketball. During the Basketball Workshop hosted by TrussTheVision (TTV) and local Podcaster Yyung (Wealthy Talk With Yyung). Although it was a scorching day on the court, they’ve managed to bring out over dozens of kids — girls and boys ranging from all ages. The youngest child I’ve seen at the event was about 7 years old, which amazed me. Besides bringing out the youth, they also had NY Rising Rebel’s team coaches as well as a former Professional International Basketball player — which are all Yonkers native. NY Rising Rebels is a local developmental basketball program that assists students in 8th grade to High School seeking an opportunity to compete in tournaments, exposing their talents to coaches and scouts of higher education. Coach Tae and Micheal expressed creating a positive yet structured environment for their athletes, and becoming positive role models has been a rewarding part of their position. Besides watching them progress and succeed, knowing each player is walking off the court with their head higher than before and more knowledge is the overall goal of NY Rising Rebels. The most amazing part of the Basketball Workshop was that everyone involved was a Yonkers native and also played basketball for local teams throughout their childhood as well. As the other community leader, former Professional Basketball player Chris Ranglin stated in the interview, “whether you consider yourself a low-level athlete or worried you may not be good, you can overcome it all by believing in yourself and working hard”. Having positive role models and mentors are essential in a child’s life. All it takes is one person to give a child their full undivided attention, and patience because sometimes that’s what some are missing at home.

Basketball Workshop at Trevor Park on June 19, 2021

“Good, better, best … never let it rest until your good is better than your best” 

It was great to witness as a citizen, especially now as an adult to see such a exciting event to make a comeback and be a success! Overall entertaining educational, yet interactive eventful weekend for the youth. Typically, people tend to complain about the adolescent and label them as “lazy”, “mislead” or “uninterested” yet they’re neither. Most individuals aren’t aware of the valuable resources and community leaders, therefore you cannot fault others for that. Instead of complaining about it, change it. Everyone wants to be informed and mindful of the importance of their heritage and valuable resources the world withholds. All it took was dedication, networking, and discussions to bring their vision a reality. Hence, thank you to the individuals that took their time and energy to plan this event — especially Yonkers African American Heritage Club for never giving up on the community for decades. Most importantly reminding our children, that there is people in their neighborhood who recognize and acknowledge their special talents, skills and abilities. As Tom Ray stated, “there’s nothing they can take from us if we are educated”. We, the community are all rooting for them to become great, powerful individuals they’re meant to be.

Hope you enjoyed the read! Subscribe for more, and comment if you have any more questions about Yonkers events.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Marie Smith says:

    GOoD Morning, Thank You for writing this story and sharing your memories about your Grandparents. Love Peace and Blessings ❤🙏🏾✝️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. viakyla says:

      Good morning! Aw thank you for reading. I’m always here to share. Love you💗


  2. Jocelyn Williams says:

    Great article!! Thanks for taking me back to the good times. I sometimes forget how welcoming and exciting Yonkers used to be. This event was always the event that we all waited for throughout the year.

    I also attended this event this year and I was every impressed with the basketball event and with all the Millennium vendors!

    Keep up the good work YO family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. viakyla says:

      Thank you so much! I think everyone forgets how fun we had here, hopefully more great events that bring back great memories continue to occur


  3. TTV says:

    It was a honor to work with you! The kids loved you. I cant wait for them to read the article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. viakyla says:

      Thank you so much! It was great working with you as well. Anything for the kiddies ☺️


  4. Tom Ray says:

    Kyla incredible write Sis. Very well written. I can tell through the content that our collective efforts in putting together a phenomenal Juneteenth Festival weekend inspire you to the core. You gifted in journalism sis. Keep Shinning

    Liked by 1 person

    1. viakyla says:

      Thank you so much! Thank you for getting me involved and allowing me to see everything behind the scenes and more. Hope to cover more of your events in the future


  5. Mimi says:

    Great story cover, while reading I felt as if I was there . Keep up the black excellence.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Donell says:

    You got the sauce dope event thank you for being part of it next year will be better and better

    Liked by 1 person

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