The Five College Area’s 10 th Annual Juneteenth Celebration will be held mostly virtually this year on Friday, June 19 th. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with a bell ringing and reading at Town Hall. This will be followed by a webinar and panel discussion focusing on the new book, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century by William A. Darity Jr. & A. Kirsten Mullen. The discussion will begin at 4:30 PM and can be viewed on Amherst Media’s Channel 12. People can access the viewstream here .

Juneteenth observes the June 19th, 1865 proclamation of the abolition of slavery in Texas, where the last freedpeople to get the news were still living under slavery. It celebrates freedom and demands justice. 

Panelists for the webinar include:

William A. Darity Jr. is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University. He has published or edited 13 books and published more than 300 scholarly articles, and is the recipient of numerous awards and prestigious fellowships. Darity lives with his family in Durham, North Carolina, where he plays blues harmonica, occasionally coaches youth sports, and especially enjoys reading science fiction and speculative fiction. He is a graduate of Amherst Regional High School and his family is well-known to, and a historical part of, the local community.

A. Kirsten Mullen is a writer, folklorist, lecturer, and the founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, and Carolina Circuit Writers, a literary consortium that brings expressive writers of color to the Carolinas. She was a member of the Freelon Adjaye Bond concept development team that was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Her written work includes “Black Culture and History Matter” (The American Prospect), which examines the politics of funding black cultural institutions.

Members of Bridge4Unity, an interracial dialogue and cultural exchange project, will facilitate the discussion. They include:

Allen Davis, an educator, racial justice advocate, and creator of an “Historical Timeline of Reparations Paid by the United States to Blacks, Indigenous People, and Japanese Americans from 1783–2020,” who established, in 2018, the James Baldwin Lecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Amilcar Shabazz (Amherst Indy contributor). I am a professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts and the President of the National Council for Black Studies. I was introduced to the reparations movement after hearing Queen Mother Moore in 1980, and have been an organizer for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations (NCOBRA) in different regions since its founding in 1987. I worked with Imari Obadele, founder of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations, to publish the book The Forty Acres Documents (1994).

Deborah Snow is a restaurant owner and longtime political activist. She was a photographer and former owner of Persephone Press, a lesbian publishing house. Most recently, she started Bridge4Unity. 

Event sponsors include Amherst Media, Bridge4Unity, National Council for Black Studies, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, UMass Amherst Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, and the Town of Amherst, particularly its  Human Rights Commission and the Jones Library. 

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