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Juneteenth: Justice + Joy

Featuring Carolina Nvé Díaz San Francisco, Cris Eli Blak, Kenja McCray, Ricky Presitge Leverette Jr, & Oluwafemi

Juneteenth has always been a day dedicated to celebrating freedom. Presently, it is also a time for reflection. We’re offering space to learn about the significance of this day, and extended time to join others in celebration.


The Emancipation Proclamation given in 1863 is frequently taught as the “end of slavery”. Over two years later, enslaved people were still not free. On June 19th, 1865 federal troops finally marked what is known as the longest running African American holiday in history. After over 150 years, and decades of advocates pushing and petitioning the federal government, Juneteenth is still not recognized as a national holiday today.

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Juneteenth. A time for reflection, meditating on the future, and celebration;

and we did exactly that during our June Meetup. …

Carolina Nvé Díaz San Francisco

Carolina Nvé Díaz San Francisco was born and raised in Spain, medical anthropologist based in Boston (Disparities Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Health and Wellness Coordinator for the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition, and author of several articles and the afrofuturistic novel Mis madres son estrellas (2019, Sial/Casa de Africa).

Cris Eli Blak

Cris Eli Blak is an award winning and internationally produced writer. His work has garnered him a Bronze Remi from the Worldfest Houston International Film and Video Festival, the Christopher Hewitt Award in Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nomination and honors from Vectis Radio, Negro Ensemble Company, Clocktower Players and A is For. His work has been produced, performed and/or published around the world, from Off-Broadway (Urban Stages and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), West Coast (Theatre of NOTE, Theatre West, Common Ground Theatre, Left Edge Theatre and Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble), Collegiate (Columbia University, York College of Pennsylvania, Academy of Arts University and Wellesley College), London (The Quean’s Company and Flawstate), Australia (Melting Pot Theatre), Canada (Ryerson Community Theatre) and Ireland (Eva’s Echo). He is developing new work with Derby City Playwrights, The Road Theatre, Imaginarium Theatre Company, Teatro Milagro and Et Alia Theater. He was the resident playwright at Fosters Theatrical Artists Residency and continues to strive to create work that reflects the world that we live in, with all of its different and diverse colors, creeds and cultures.

Kenja McCray

Originally from Birmingham, Kenja McCray is a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts. She has a B.A. from Spelman College and an M.A. from Clark Atlanta University. She earned a Ph.D. in history at Georgia State University (GSU). Her areas of interest are the 19th and 20th century United States, African Americans, Africa and the diaspora, transnational histories, women, class and social history. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled From Complements to Kazi Leaders: Women in Black Power Pan-African Cultural Nationalist Organizations, 1965-1987.

Ricky Prestige Leverette Jr

Ricky Prestige Leverett Jr is a 2x Self-Published Author, Motivational Speaker, Spiritual Teacher, and Historian. Ricky is the author of the self-help book “Mind Alignment: Wake Up Your Stolen Greatness Through Mind Power” and the childrens book “Amir’s Hidden Superpower”. Ricky has spoken at both big and small cultural events. Ranging from corporations to small community organizations. He specializes in African American history, mind science, meditation, motivation, metaphysics , and psychology. He studied spirituality under Dr. Paul Leon Master’s at the University of Metaphysics. Ricky Prestige Leverett Jr. plans to teach a generation the power of their own minds.


I am a deejay, music producer and visual artist based in Philadelphia, by way of Central New Jersey, by way of Lagos, Nigeria. I am inspired by drums and patterns, the rhythmic evolution of repetition. For over a decade, I have enjoyed mixing songs of drum influenced genres – the family of funk, hip-hop, soul, reggae, dancehall, house music, and their countless offshoots. These diasporic sounds have travelled with me to various cities on the east coast, California and Costa Rica. My style is simultaneously groovy and soulful, often drawing from a wide range of cultural influence and history.


Alongside DJ Ben Arsenal, I started Worldtown, the art collective that celebrates diversity with music and art. It began as a no-holds-barred party of the best dance music around the world, dipped in house music. Worldtown has since grown to include its own festival, a smashing 8-piece live house music band, and a current monthly dance gathering called “Travel By Map”.


I’m on IG @olwfm and @worldtown

History and traditions of the longest running African
American holiday in US history.

How are we celebrating Juneteenth this year & why
won’t the federal government recognize its significance?.

How access to nutritional food is used as a power
mechanism to oppress and harm groups of people.