Virtual Speaker Series - Juneteenth Edition - Parlee Jones, Sha-Asia Medina & Jenn Kanze-Eaton

Virtual Speaker Series - Juneteenth Edition - Parlee Jones, Sha-Asia Medina & Jenn Kanze-Eaton
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6/26/2020 1:30 PM
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Virtual Speaker Series - Juneteenth Edition

Parlee Jones was born in Leominster, MA and moved to Worcester, MA as an infant. She lived in Brooklyn, NY, for 11 years where both of her children were born, other than that, Parlee has spent nearly her whole life in Worcester. Except for spending eleven years in Brooklyn, NY, Parlee has spent nearly her whole life in Worcester. She currently serves as a shelter advocate at Abby’s House women’s shelter in Worcester. When she is not helping homeless women through her work at Abby’s house, Parlee is raising awareness about Black History through various community organizations some of which she has created. One of these organizations is OurStory Edutainment.  She is also very involved with the Black Heritage Juneteenth Festival Committee.  

Worcester has been commemorating Juneteenth with a festival since 1997 and Parlee has active on this committee for over 10 years. The Black Heritage Festival comes together annually through the efforts of a volunteer committee from the community that sees the importance of celebrating the past with consciousness to inspire the future. Working to bring to public consciousness our shared history, the Black Heritage Juneteenth Festival Committee has elected to act in the tradition of our fore bearers and in accordance with the axiom, “none of us are free until we all are free,” recognizing the abolition of enslavement in all parts of the Americas. The festival is a community effort: as it relies on the support of the community to be implemented and is truly FOR the community.


Parlee will be joining us with her daughter Sha-Asia Medina who has followed her mother’s footsteps in activism. Sha-Asia also seats on The Black Heritage Festival committee.


During this exchange, we will also be joined by Jenn Kanze-Eaton. Jenn is a Black Lives Matter ally and social justice activist. Jenn will be sharing her rather interesting journey of self-education on the meaning of Juneteenth and the role she played in sharing her knowledge with her Church community.


What is Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all enslaved people in the United States of America were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation- which had become official January 1, 1863. To mark the anniversary of their liberation and honor the two additional years of slave labor endured by enslaved people in Texas, our ancestors celebrated Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day and Emancipation Day. Many African Americans celebrated Juneteenth in the same way that white Americans generally celebrate the Fourth of July.


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