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Contact: Shermaine Sacasa
718-638-6397 (office)
786-355-4855 (cell)

Blacks Gear Up for
Emancipation Celebration

As January 1, 2013, approaches, Blacks in New York, New Jersey, and across the region are gearing up for various celebrations and commemorations in light of the 150-year anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln.

In a strong display of solidarity and camaraderie, many New York area clergy leaders and their congregations will participate in a series of worship style emancipation rallies across the boroughs on January 1.

“Beyond the controversy, the challenges and the conversation, there is much to celebrate,” shared Rev. Dennis Dillon, pastor of the Brooklyn Christian Center and chief researcher for the Economic State of Black New York Report, who recently saw the movie “Lincoln” and thought it fell short of addressing the role that the slaves played in winning their freedom.

Dillon, in collaboration with Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, the chief architect of The Maafa and pastor of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, along with more than 100 convening clergy, have planned the Emancipation Day series to bring attention to the impact of slavery and to address Black America’s progress and struggles since emancipation.

“Every people needs a sabbath, a time to relax, reflect, put things in perspective, and spiritualize their journey,” shared Youngblood, who sees this as a time for Blacks to deepen their commitment to God and focus on the road ahead.

According to the group, this is just the kickoff of a series of activities over the next 18 months. The Riverside Church will host a special Emancipation Rally on President’s Day, February 18, at 6:00 p.m., and plans are under way for the gathering of more than 15,000 people from around the United States and across the globe in New York on June 19th.
“This is a defining moment in our country, and it is of utmost importance that we raise these critical issues beyond conversation, celebration and despite controversy,” shared Bishop Nathaniel Townsley, Jr., pastor of St. Mark Holy Church,” and music and entertainment producer for the Freedom 2013 campaign.

On January 1, 2013, people will gather in Staten Island at the First Central Baptist Church at 10:00 am for the first rally, and then continue in Brooklyn at Freedom Hall Church of God at 2:00 pm. The final service will be in Queens at New Jerusalem Baptist Church at 6:00 pm. Transportation will also be available at cost to mobilize individuals between churches.

“Given the economic circumstances of our communities and race, the great disparity gap in wealth and entrepreneurship, health and education, there is an urgently pressing need for assessment, evaluation and redirection. This is an important conversation,” shared Dillon, who plans to use much of the Economic State of Black New York data to show the urgent need for action.

For additional information, call 718-638-6397.

DATE: January 1, 2013

TIME: 10:00 am First Central Baptist Church
117 Wright Street, Staten Island, NY

2:00 pm Freedom Hall Church of God
629 Albany Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

6:00 pm New Jerusalem Baptist Church
122-05 Smith Street, Jamaica, NY



IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.