The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Community caretaker, mother and curator Diamon Fisher was way ahead of the curve here in Baltimore.
Last year, she took matters into her own hands when celebrations for Juneteenth or Freedom Day were cancelled across the country during the height of the coronavirus pandemic with fear and anxiety high around community gatherings. However, Diamon was one of the first organizers to bring her audience of creative supporters outside masked and socially distanced for her first annual Juneteenth Celebration.
“I feel like this celebration is a direct connection to our ancestry and we don’t get a chance to honor our ancestors often enough,” Diamon said. With last year’s civil unrest surrounding the police-related deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others, Diamon said, “…the need for an event centered in informative skill shares, resources and support surrounding race amongst Black folks was well needed.”
In 2020, Fisher’s Juneteenth celebration included black led terrarium building workshops, fishing rod building, waist bead stringing and the list goes on! Fisher says that the first year was very informative for her, her peers and the extended community has definitely driven her to make a go of it again this year. It’s not easy to find pleasure in being reminded of an imperfect past here in America rooted in slavery.
However Diamon, much like many of the Black people who came before us since the late 1800s, finds jubilation, community and even just plain acknowledgment— all necessary ingredients to throwing the perfect fête in the name of freedom. This year there will be the same initial workshops plus some new ones, including: herbalism, plant repotting and a new marketplace featuring Black businesses, food trucks and live musical performances by Baltimore based musicians like Abdu Ali, Al Rogers Jr. and Da Lor Band + Keiyaa a singer and songwriter all the way from Chicago.
When asked what the celebration is rooted in Fisher responded, “Emancipation and the continued practice of resilience and resistance for Black people.’’
A lot of the energy that Diamon embodies when organizing this event for Juneteenth is fueled by what she calls the reparations that she collected by crowdfunding and sourcing using her social media platforms. Between this year and last year she has raised a near whopping 10K to produce the commemorative festival style, Juneteenth series.
“Community is sacred, community is the main thing you need in life to gain inspiration and to lean on— we should never hesitate even outside of celebrating Juneteenth. Community is home, community is where Black folk can feel celebrated,’’ the Baltimore born and bred curator who is rooted in her community said.
This annual and now federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s and Diamon hopes to continue a legacy alongside dozens of other organizers in Baltimore who have also planned there own Juneteenth celebrations over the weekend of June 19, 2021.
Aisha Pew and Cierra Little over at Dovecote Cafe in Reservoir Hill; photographer Devin Allen and Musician King Midas City of Gods Clothing Shop in Hollins Market; the newly opened Black owned restaurant Blk Swan in Harbor East are just a few of the people who have organized Juneteenth celebrations for this weekend alongside Diamon’s event at the historic Eubie Blake Jazz and Cultural Center located at 847 N. Howard Street in Mt. Vernon in Baltimore City.
For more information and further details about how you may participate in this year’s Juneteenth Celebrations, visit Diamon’s Instagram at: Instagram.com/leche.lady.