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For The Culture, A Juneteenth Event


On Monday June 18, members of the community gathered at the Collingwood Arts Center to commemorate Juneteenth with a panel discussion: For the Culture. Among the panelists was a Deon Ellis, licensed counselor, a cardiology resident from Detroit, a young mother and Megan Davis, entrepreneur. Singer Monique TaChae opened up with the Black National Anthem, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, followed by the reading of the history of Juneteenth and a poem by Xholali-Kumasi Malakayah Yedudah Yisreal El, of Toledo.


The panel addressed burning topics such as mental illness in the black community; whether or not voting is our right or duty; should attending college be an expectation;  and is black marriage dead. Moderated by Whitney Banks, the discussion was lively between panelists and the audience who was able to chime in on these topics. The common ground on these topics were acknowledgement and communication. With mental illness being a top concern for people of all races today, history has shown that illnesses happened because people have either not been allowed to talk about their struggles or they were afraid to go to someone to talk about them. Ignoring anything for too long can have a negative impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.


Juneteenth Organizers - Sadora Montgomery, Monique TaChae and Whitney Banks


Juneteenth panelists

On the topic of voting, many agreed that voting is necessary, but even more, it is important to know who you are voting for and what they stand for, and avoiding the “I’m voting for everybody black” trend. With the state of current affairs, it is seen how not paying attention to the details can place in office and positions of power.


When it came to marriage being dead in the black community, Banks brought up a statistic from the Pew Research Center,  that interracial marriages have increased five times since they became legal 50 years ago, from three to 17 percent. This includes the iconic Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry last month. The response from panelists was unanimous that they are either married to or plan to marry someone black.


Davis stated that it isn’t that black marriage is dead, but that poor communication can kill any marriage whether it is dealing with financial goals, children or buying a car. “When we don’t acknowledge issues, we can’t address them and fix them. They pile atop of each other and create a wall that’s hard to scale or break through”, Davis said.


This question led to the discussion about blacks measuring success with whites such as the neighborhoods they live in and the schools they enroll their children in and why this is a big deal today. Deon Ellis mentioned that there were standards his parents set for him to go to school, get into a good career and take care of his family. He is fulfilling their expectation for him, which became his own expectation. “It isn’t about keeping up with White people, it is about taking care of my family and doing the right thing”, he stated.


This panel was day one of a two-day Juneteenth celebration that is expected to continue next year, according to organizers Whitney Banks, Monique TaChae and Sadora Montgomery. The second day was a dashiki dress affair


Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:09 -0700.



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