Cabrini’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration brought students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the Cavalier community together on Sunday, June 19, for a day of festivities honoring African American freedom and fatherhood.
The family-friendly event celebrating the day in 1865 when the final enslaved Americans learned of their freedom, engaged attendees with crafts and food, while a local drum ensemble filled the air on campus with traditional rhythms and dance. Greg Carr, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, and an influential education leader who has shaped Philadelphia’s African American history curriculum, led the community in an African libation which honors ancestors through a ritual pouring of water.
The University’s Juneteenth programming matched the mission of its Education of the Heart, designed to educate and inspire action as much as it entertained, said Lailah Dunbar, Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (ODEIB), who presided over the day’s festivities.
“The inaugural Cabrini University Juneteenth celebration was a great success!” Dunbar said. “Both celebratory and educational, attendees gave overwhelmingly positive feedback and are looking forward to coming back next year.”
Dunbar said the event was successful in welcoming the greater local community into the Cabrini community for the day.
“Members of the Wayne, Radnor, Valley Forge, and Philadelphia African American communities enjoyed our lovely campus as we celebrated freedom and fatherhood,” Dunbar said. “Many said they were motivated to see such a prolific speaker as Dr. Greg Carr on the Cabrini University campus contextualizing the African American resistance to oppression within the scope of American history.”
Students from the Cabrini Poetry Club also shared their words and voices in reflection of Juneteenth. Geraldine Brown (ʼ23), a Psychology major, read her poems, “Cup runneth Over,” “Freedom Says,” “Melanin Woman,” and “Black Kings and Queens.” Black Student Union President and Graphic Design student, Armani Parker (ʼ23), read her works, “what does freedom mean to me” and “African American.”
The first Cabrini Juneteenth celebration also coincided with Father’s Day, as fathers in attendance were honored during a ceremony led by Saleem Brown, Executive Director, Community Development and External Relations at Cabrini, who enjoyed the day with his son in attendance.
“To celebrate this Father’s Day with my son on campus was an honor,” Brown said. “It was a pleasure to be around other fathers to celebrate this historic occasion and even more special that it was during Cabrini‘s inaugural Juneteenth event.”
Angela N. Campbell, PhD, Vice President, Mission, DEI, and Student Engagement, offered a forward-thinking perspective on the Juneteenth holiday in her address to attendees.
“Juneteenth brings us back to retrieve what was forgotten in the gloomy past and calls on us to rise out of the ashes of degradation to stand as the bright North Star, lighting the way and leading the world into a new realization of love,” she said.
Photos by Anna Schmader (ʼ23)