Marblehead marks Juneteenth with storytelling, music and poetry

The Marblehead Task Force Against Discrimination, in conjunction with North Shore Juneteenth Association, staged Marblehead’s second annual Juneteenth ceremony on Wednesday, June 8.

Organizers called the ceremony a huge success and extra special with Marblehead Public Schools students involved. Greg Coles from Greg Coles Dance & Drum donated his time to share African drumming, storytelling and history.

Student representatives to the MTFAD Alexis Earp and Celia Sliney ran the ceremony on the lawn outside Abbot Hall. The role of the student representative at MTFAD is to “help create a safe environment at school for all by listening to peers, advocating for inclusivity and creating programming for MPS.”

Earp read the land acknowledgment recently created by the MTFAD and community volunteers, and Sliney was the emcee presiding over the ceremony.

Selectperson Jackie Belf-Becker opened the ceremony, asking attendees “to use this federal holiday on June 19 as a time to reflect, learn, and take action to help ensure liberty and justice for all Americans.”

Marblehead Veterans Middle School student Graciella read her poem “Between You and I,” and MHS students Ketsia Kiamanga, Michael Gabaud, Shakayla Baxter, Anáis Disla Soto, Alisa Colón, Tamya Johnson, Tamia Johnson, Tyrone Countrymon, Kendal-Arielle Vendrine-Ngole and Le’Daisha Williams presented their speech, “A World With Justice.”

North Shore Juneteenth Association founder and president Nicole Mcclain spoke about the history of Juneteenth and her motivation to create formal programming to celebrate Juneteenth on the North Shore. 

Nikki Moore, former Marblehead resident and member of MHD Racial Justice Team, shared her story raising her children in Marblehead.

Martina Campbell performed the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and Marine cadets raised the Juneteenth flag.

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