7th Annual Juneteenth celebration in Houston: The Omowale Kefing Freedom Festival

On June 19, 2021, the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) held our 7th Annual Juneteenth Celebration, the first Juneteenth Celebration in the last two years and our first in person event in Houston since the beginning of the COVID-19 colonialvirus pandemic.

This year’s Juneteenth was a dynamic celebration hosted in the 5th Ward across from our Gwen Archie Community Garden in a lot donated for the day to AAPDEP by a member of the community.

There was no shortage of help by the community in ensuring the success of the festival, themed this year after longtime Juneteenth organizer, member of the African People’s Socialist Party, AAPDEP and veteran to the revolution, Omowale Kefing.

The Omowale Kefing Freedom Festival headlined by Ray Williams and the Majortones, was a celebration of the work of Comrade Kefing and a reconsolidation in the community of our HIstoric Music Festivals.

The live music brought community members out to eat and listen on the lawn to the smooth vibes of Ray and the band, which overflowed with raw talent and provided good fun for the community.

With activities for the children, BBQ and a seafood boil, this year’s Juneteenth was a great re-introduction to the community and new AAPDEP Houston Volunteers.

With the marking this year of Juneteenth as a U.S. federal holiday, Juneteenth in the 5th Ward was especially significant. Our Juneteenth Festival gives the community a celebration that leads them to the next logical step beyond Juneteenth.

We have always proclaimed Juneteenth as “Not Yet Uhuru” (Not Yet Free), and our festival is a political organizing event as much as it is a music festival. This year featured speakers such as: Dr. Aisha Fields, AAPDEP International Director, Kobina Bantushango, The APSP Southern Region Representative and John “Bunchy” Crear of the Black Panther Party Alumni.

We want to give a special thank you and appreciation to Marvin Pearson who has been a dedicated AAPDEP Volunteer and Juneteenth Organizer for many years under the leadership of Comrade Omowale Kefing.

When called to assist with this year’s celebration in honor of our Comrade, Marvin rose to the occasion and beyond.

We also would like to appreciate the volunteers in the Houston Garden, Amanda Wicks, Ashlee Jeter, Revesai Tadi, and Hashim Bissalam.

A special thanks to all the members of the community who provided space for the performers, vendors, parking and provided ice, water and other things as needed.

Our Juneteenth Celebration is not only a showcase of local talent, but also an economic opportunity for local vendors and for the Black community to buy and spend with each other.

Through the pooling of the skills available to us, Juneteenth is made possible each year. With the continued help of our volunteers and community, we plan to build each Juneteenth Celebration bigger and better than the one before. To join the organizing committee for Juneteenth email info@ developmentforafrica.org. Let’s build Juneteenth!

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